Sony unveils first Blu-ray recorder

Sony will be the first manufacturer to offer a recorder based on the blue laser-powered Blu-ray standard, which crams up to 27GB of data onto a single 12-cm disc. The recorder will apparently cost nearly $4,000; not cheap, even for early adopters.

Once more Blu-ray devices come to market, prices will surely come down. What will be interesting to see is where Blu-ray will fit in a market already saturated with CD burners. I haven't seen even DVD+/-RW drives capture the attention of mainstream consumers, perhaps because so few have enough data to fill a 4.7GB disc. Digital video editing hasn't caught on as a killer app, but just about everyone seems to be burning audio CDs these days.

Because of Blu-ray's high storage density, it may be best suited for portable devices. C|Net is reporting that Philips has a Blu-ray disc only 3cm in diameter that holds 1GB of data. I'll take a couple of discs and a compatible MP3 player and digital camera, please.

Unfortunately, it looks like the same squabbling over standards that plagues the DVD+/-RW world will carry over to blue laser DVD technologies. Toshiba and NEC are pushing a blue laser DVD format of their own, which is sure to muddy the waters and slow the adoption of blue laser technologies as consumers wait for a clear winner to emerge.

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