Blank Blu-ray discs start shipping

Next-generation optical discs are headed to retailers, but the players aren't here yet.

Japan's TDK has started shipping blank Blu-ray discs to retailers, and they cost about as much as a first run movie on DVD.

A 25GB recordable disc costs $19.95, according to the Blu-ray Disc Association, the trade group behind the next-generation format. Recordable-rewritable versions of the 25GB disc cost $24.95.

Later this year, TDK will come out with a Blu-ray disc that records on both sides and holds 50GB. The recordable version will sell for $47.99, while the recordable-rewritable version will go for $59.95. TDK began to supply manufacturers with samples in December.

Prices, though, will decline as more manufacturers and manufacturing facilities for the new format come out. Blu-ray players won't hit shelves until later this year.

Two different camps are battling it out to establish the next standard for optical discs. The Blu-ray group--which includes Sony, Philips, Dell and several film studios--says its technology will provide more storage than competing HD DVD.

Toshiba, Microsoft, Intel and the other HD backers, however, say their format will be a lot cheaper.

Many film studios have decided to support both formats. PC and consumer electronics companies, however, are typically being forced to choose one format or another. A few, such as Hewlett-Packard and LG, say they'll support both.

For consumers, the format war will be a headache as they will have to remember to buy PCs that are compatible with their consumer electronics equipment that is compatible with the movies they buy.

Blu-ray discs are composed of copper and silicon and are different from the material used in CDs and DVDs, according to TDK.

Featured Video
This content is rated TV-MA, and is for viewers 18 years or older. Are you of age?
Sorry, you are not old enough to view this content.

Details about Apple's 'spaceship' campus from the drone pilot who flies over it

MyithZ has one of the most popular aerial photography channels on YouTube. With the exception of revealing his identity, he is an open book as he shares with CNET's Brian Tong the drone hardware he uses to capture flyover shots of the construction of Apple's new campus, which looks remarkably like an alien craft.

by Brian Tong