Aiming to sharply lower the cost of DVD recorders, the island's top two optical chip makers are preparing chip sets that should make the machines more attractive to consumers by the second half of next year as greater competition and higher volumes drive IC prices down. "After that, there won't be any reason for recordables to be so expensive," said Chin Wu, president of ALi Corp., formerly known as Acer Laboratories Inc.The chips from both companies support competing DVD+RW and DVD-RW standards, and could be just what the recordable DVD industry needs to take off. Widespread recordable DVD technology may bring video editing one step closer to being the next big application for home PCs, and it'll also make things a lot easier for folks trying to back up and image data from ever-larger hard drives.
Currently, DVD recorders from Panasonic and Philips sell for between $600 and $1,000 at places like Circuit City. Once the Taiwanese enter the market, Wu believes that can come down to under $300 by the end of next year.
Illegitimate applications will prosper, too. Not only should the MPAA be very afraid, but also game developers using DVDs for console and even PC titles. Cheap recordable DVD drives could prove just how much more effective media cost is than any kind of copy protection when it comes to discouraging piracy.