Blu-ray replication vs HD DVD replication costs revealed

HDDVDvsBlurayQuick Intro: The blue wars are on!
The war between the Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD formats is still in full swing. Each next generation format camp has heavy hitting supporters from powerful tech companies around the world. Each side of the war also has their fans, supporters, proponents and dedicated enthusiasts. Debates, opinions and arguments are flying all over the net over who will “win” this next generation format war.

The replication cost issue
I decided to take a look at one of the oldest standing issues in the blue laser format wars, the difference in cost between Blu-ray and HD DVD disc production (also known as replication). The topic of Blu-ray vs HD DVD production cost has long been a highly debated and frequently brought up issue in the format battle. HD DVD supporters are quite often found stating that “Blu-ray costs more” to manufacture than HD DVD. But how much more and why does Blu-ray have an increased cost? The reason most often put forward is that “Blu-ray production requires completely new hardware”, while HD DVD media can be produced by modifying existing DVD manufacturing hardware. But is there a significant cost difference? Is Blu-ray replication really that much more expensive than HD DVD replication? I certainly did not believe that Blu-ray was 3 or 4 times more expensive than HD DVD, as claimed by Vivid Entertainment. I spoke with optical disc industry contacts and researched online to find the following Blu-ray vs HD DVD replication costs. The results might surprise you.

HD DVD replication vs Blu-ray replication at Plant #1
My confidential industry source revealed that one large replication company is currently charging approximately $1.15 per single layer HD DVD (15GB) and $1.30 per single layer Blu-ray Disc (25GB), assuming a quantity of 25,000. For comparison purposes, a run of 25,000 Dual Layer DVD (DVD9) discs would cost about $0.50 per disc at this same facility. DL HD DVD (30GB) was right inline with SL Blu-ray (25GB) pricing, but an exact figure was not provided. This translates to a cost of approximately $0.077 per GB on HD DVD SL media and $0.052 per GB on Blu-ray SL media.

Blu-ray replication costs Plant #2 (Blu-ray only)
I received quotes on Blu-ray single layer (25GB) replication at plant #2 between $1.35-$1.45 USD per disc on runs of 25K or more. Blu-ray DL (50GB) was quoted between $2.15 – $2.25 per disc on a 25,000 quantity run. Taking the high end on this range, this translates to approximately $0.045 per GB for Blu-ray DL media.

Blu-ray replication vs HD DVD replication reseller costs (ProActionMedia)
One of the only replication companies that actually lists their pricing publicly is ProActionMedia and we found the following replication costs listed on their website. Their prices were significantly higher than the private, customer-only quotes that we received from the other 2 replication plants. I have included images here that break down the ProActionMedia pricing for Blu-ray and HD DVD.

Sticking with the 25,000 run quantity, we can see that ProActionMedia is quoting $1.59 per disc for Blu-ray SL (25GB), $1.45 per HD DVD SL (15GB) and $1.69 per HD DVD DL (30GB). This translates to approximately $0.064 per GB for Blu-ray SL, $0.097 per GB for HD DVD SL and $0.056 per GB for HD DVD DL.

Cost comparison conclusions
From these figures taken from 3 different replication sources, we can see that Blu-ray media replication does not cost significantly more than HD DVD. In fact, we found that Blu-ray is actually cheaper per GB in many situations! It is also interesting to note that at this point, most HD DVD-ROM movies are DL, while most BD-ROM movies are SL, which would make HD DVD more expensive to replicate in most situations. I did not include fees associated with authoring, setup, AACS protection, packaging and other costs in the quotes above, so keep in mind that the final cost of replicating an HD DVD or Blu-ray disc will definitely be a bit higher than the per disc pricing noted above. Also, according to our sources, the Blu-ray setup fee is only slightly more than the HD DVD setup fee, but it depends on the specific manufacturing plant. Looking at these numbers and pricing information, we can now dispell the myth that Blu-ray replication is significantly more costly than HD DVD.

*UPDATE: Blu-ray vs HD DVD replication costs PART 2

About Wes Novack

Wes is a Technologist working in the software industry, with extensive experience building and managing highly available applications, services, and systems in the public cloud. He has extensive experience with online publishing and building internet communities. Wes enjoys hanging with his family, getting outdoors, skateboarding, hiking, pickelball, tennis, the vegan lifestyle, and a good cup of tea. You can find him on X (formerly Twitter) @WesleyTech.

View all posts by Wes Novack →

91 Comments on “Blu-ray replication vs HD DVD replication costs revealed”

  1. You mentioned that replication cost for DVD+R DL is around $0.50 per 25,000 quantity. End users can buy them as low as $1.00 – 2.00 per disc, which translate to 2-4x the cost.

    Now if BD and HD-DVD can be bought 2-4x of the replication cost, that would be around $3.00-$6.00! Can’t wait for that to happen. 🙂

  2. The DVD replication cost I quoted was for DVD-ROM DL, not DVD+R DL, so it is a completely different product made from different materials.

    I understand the thoughts behind your comparison though, but I don’t think we’ll see that type of price ratio on HD DVD-ROM/HD DVD-R or BD-ROM/BD-R media anytime soon… 🙁

  3. Can you please correct your seriously flawed analysis? You have neglected to included the initial setup costs for each format, which is a major component in the cost of replication (currently, it is more of a factor than cost per disc). The reason HD-DVD is cheaper to replicate is because the setup costs, when compared to Blu-ray, and much cheaper. Couple that with small volumes for both HD-DVD and BD, and then factor that the cost per disc is less for HD-DVD.

    This is how the claim the HD-DVD is signifigantly cheaper than Blu-ray is arrived at. Your incomplete and inaccurate analysis only takes into account one of three factors in the cost of replication.

    The author also appears to have left out the cost of BD-50 replication, which is currently being subsidized by Sony for major studios. So far this year, somewhere around 70% of BD discs have been BD-50.

    I really can’t believe this even passes as an article. Someone went around the web and looked at online prices for replication. I doubt that the author actually contacted a replicator as claimed, or the replicator would have explained the setup costs to them. More lies from the Blu-ray camp!

  4. Hi Will, despite your skepticism, I certainly am in touch with a replication company. I included the ProActionMedia “around the web” information as supplemental details as it is the only publicly available evidence that I could find on HD DVD vs Blu-ray replication costs. The ProActionMedia figures are not the main focus of the article, the private, confidential quotes I received from plant #1 and plant #2 are.

    I was told the Blu-ray setup fee was not significantly more, but I’m asking my sources to provide figures now. I should have an update soon.

  5. Plant #1)
    Setup fees waived on high volume orders
    HD DVD SL setup fee $1,500
    HD DVD DL setup fee $3,000
    Blu-ray Disc SL setup fee $2,500
    Blu-ray Disc DL setup fee $5,000

    Plant #2)
    Blu-ray Disc SL $350 (all quantities)
    Blu-ray Disc DL $700 (all quantities)

    Replication reseller (ProActionMedia)
    Setup fees unknown

  6. Wow… so HDDVD DL is $3,000 setup and BD SL is $2,500 setup at plant #1 huh?

    And once again HDDVD loses!

  7. It seems that the blu ray is selling more media in California then HD at least in the Orange Country area I live at. I have bought the Sony BDP-S1 player for blu and I’m very happy with it.

  8. What it really shows is that costs are close enough that they don’t matter much. They certainly aren’t going to matter in deciding which format will prevail.

    Like it or not, Blu-Ray has pulled ahead of HD in disc sales an in number of players in homes. The content providers know there is more money to be made if they only have to ship for one format, and if Blu-Ray has the potential to sell more discs than HD, which do you think they will choose?

  9. That might just be an thing though. Other websites haven’t posted the same changes in sales, and the difference in sales is a VERY odd spike on the graph. It literally jumped up within a few minutes, makeing me wonder if it wasn’t some sort of special offer or sale possibly?

    Although I’m not ruling out the possability of it just being an odd coincedence that all those sales just happened all at once.

  10. Those setup numbers are fabricated. Please provide the companies in question so that the real numbers can be obtained.

    How very convienient that you leave out Proaction Medias setup fees, as those are the only numbers that could be confirmed, since you won’t provide the name of your other replicators. Do your replicator’s not want their names promoted because it might mean they gain business?

  11. The numbers from plant 1 are straight from a senior sales manager at one replication company. He provided information on the condition of anonymity. I have actually seen a pricing document from plant 2 (Blu-ray only) and again I am not allowed to reveal the source. This is the only way that my sources would provide the information.

    Call Proaction on your own if you’d like. They refused to provide me with setup fee information when I called them.

  12. Who buys discs at a cost per GB? It’s a cost per disc. What idiot wrote this article.

  13. Hmmm, while cost per GB is an interesting comparison, I don’t think it is the relevant gauge for studios. The relevant gauge would be unit price — after all, the studios are not being charged according to the number of GBs on the disc, they are being charged according to the number of units. — So, at plant 1, it costs $3,750 more to produce 25,000 single-layer Blu-ray discs than it would to produce 25,000 single-layer HD DVD discs. In other words, it is more expensive to produce $25,000 UNITS on Blu-ray. The actual costs for dual-layer discs at plant 1 is not disclosed, so we can’t see how much more it would cost to produce, for example, Superman Returns on Blu-ray (as I recall, this title is dual layer on both formats). — Plant 2 only gave Blu-ray costs, so no direct comparison is possible. But, just for kicks, let’s compare the dual-layer Blu-ray cost of 25,000 discs at plant 2 ($2.25) with the dual-layer HD DVD cost of 25,000 discs at ProActionMedia ($1.69), whose costs were — accordingly to the author of the article — “significantly higher” than the private quotes provided by the unnamed plants. This comparison reveals that it costs $56,250 to produce the Blu-ray units, while it costs $42,250 to produce the HD DVD units. Or, in other words, it costs a studio $14,000 more to have the Blu-ray discs replicated. And this does not include the costs of creating the master, setup, etc. — So, which format costs more? Hmmm.

  14. Hey Will,

    If you have better information, why don’t you share it? If you know companies willing to give the information out publically, then post about it, and then Wes can confirm it and update his article. But it sounds to me like you’ve read some propaganda from one side of the war, and now don’t like the facts that are being presented, so you’d rather scream BS then try to find proof to the contrary. It makes it a lot easier doesn’t it?

  15. Does it matter what the initial setup cost to the end consumer? We buy the disk, not the facility that makes it.

  16. Wow Will, nice trolling as an HD DVD fanboy. you don’t like the facts you’re hearing so you say it isn’t true. must suck to live life so delusional.

  17. Hi Robert, I do not think that the war is over quite yet, but Blu-ray certainly is picking up a lot of steam. It will be interesting to see what moves the HD DVD camp makes in the near future.

  18. ummm….do any of you work for the manafacturing companies??? i dont, but hey i dont give a damn what their costs are.

    if i buy superman returns on hd-dvd AND blu-ray, hd-dvd will be cheaper to produce. ok yes the blu-ray disk has more capacity but your getting the exact same movie.
    im still going to pay the 30 freaking dollars or whatever but hey, i have an hd-dvd AND a blu-ray player, so i guess im not going to take a side. when the format war is over, whoever wins, i wont lose.

    if blu-ray fails, I STILL HAVE lots of movies to watch and a ps3.($600)

    if HD-DVD fails i STILL HAVE lots of movies to watch and the hd-dvd addon. (200$)

    i win

  19. Hello Tarantula….man,

    Blu-ray vs HD DVD replication and manufacturing costs matter to the content providers. And since the content (available products) matter to the consumers, there is an important link.

    If there was a huge, significant gap in the format replication costs, we might see all content providers (big and small) flocking to one format over the other.

    Now we know that small and large volume content providers can get their products produced on either format (HD DVD or Blu-ray) without a significant difference in replication costs.

  20. I have also looked at the cost of media and reproduction, and the cost differences are insignifcant. The current Amazon end-cost to the consumer. BD $24.70 v. HD DVD $23.30 average price.

    Sony, in the US alone, as of last November, well exceeded BD50 disc production estimates.

    The PS3 outsells the x-box add-on by a significant margin, and surveys at the time of CES showed that 80% of PS3 owners use it to watch films. Overall X-box 360 market penetration is a non-factor.

    Seven of the eight major movie studios support Blu-Ray(five exclusively). Out of the top 20 standard DVD titles sold in 2006, 19 titles are produced by studios that support Blu-Ray. This battle is less about hardware, and more about content.

    Concerned about Blu-Ray durability? Watch someone on YouTube use steel wool, a pen, chef knife, etc. on a BD, and it still plays.

    The cost difference of BD writers in new laptops is not an issue. HD DVD only sells laptops with read-only drives.

    Look at the last 30 days on Amazon, since Jan. 25, Blu-ray has NOT dipped below HD DVD. HD DVD has only won margainally on price.

    Sorry, all you HD DVD fans, you’re supporting a losing battle. “Game Over”…

  21. Yeah, that test was cool. I would have liked to have seen what the disc looked like after the last test, but I won’t spoil it for the others. 😉

    For any of you who want to see the YouTube BD torture test, here’s the link.
    Title: Blu-ray disc stress test

  22. It’s nice to see all the fanboys come out. The fact is that the war is far from being over, When Betamax and VHS came out Beta was an early leader due to the fact of it’s quality. What made VHS win was the cost of the player. Whoever comes out with a reliable sub $200 player will be the champ in this war. The adult industry has placed their money on
    HD and like it or not adult content will be a major influence in this war. Final Thoughts: how long can Sony continue to eat the losses they are taking on the PS3? That will also be a factor in determining the winner and finally does the sales figures include the free Discs that Sony gives you when you buy and register a PS3?

  23. I agree that the war is far from over, but there have definitely been some very interesting developments so far this year.

    In previous article, I also mentioned that the HD DVD camp should get a sub $200 standalone player out on the market ASAP!

    About adult content: It is definitely not as influential in deciding a format winner as it used to be. Back in the VHS vs BetaMax battles, the internet was not a widely adopted household service. Nowadays free pr0n is easily accessible and downloadable online, making physical media pr0n less of a deciding factor.

  24. Lets go back to content. Blu-ray has a 5:1 exclusivity margin over content. Universal has a great library, but the releases are coming out at a snails pace. What good is a $200 player if you don’t have titles?
    It was announced in the Australian news today, that many vendors there are only going to support Blu-ray, just for that reason.
    And while people like to compare this to the past VHS/Betamax battle, no other format was available to watch a film in the house, and it didn’t have crossover into other industries, such as gaming, computers, medical, etc.
    As for the Adult Entertainment industry, most people doubt that it will have the same impact, especially, as was pointed out, the impact of Internet and downloading, coupled with cracking of the DRM on both formats. The BDA saw the light a few weeks ago and stated that they would support all content. Vivid studios is slated to release in both formats this month.
    Don’t think that Toshiba is not also taking a hit. They subsidize at least $250 /unit.
    Now it will be interesting to see the impact of the PS3 in Europe and Australia next month.

  25. Where did you get the $250 subsidize figure?

    Here’s the article that reports on an “estimated guess” that Toshiba was loosing money on their HD DVD standalone.

    The article states “Toshiba is subsidising its HD-A1 HD DVD player by at least $175…”

    “So claims market watcher iSuppli, which took the machine to bits and totted up the cost of all the parts.”

    So, we don’t know if iSuppli’s parts pricing estimates are accurate, if Toshiba received any discounts from suppliers, or what the current part costs are (they go down with time and they are now making new player models). But it is interesting speculation and it is definitely feasible that Toshiba was taking a loss on the initial units (and possibly the current ones).

  26. What I find interesting is the abusive language that the BD guys always seem to use against HD-DVD supporters. Who says that one std will necessarily win over the other – if the player can play both who cares? We should forget the VHS/Betamax analogy (based on physical compatiability issues) and more think about DVD+R/-R, DivX, CD, etc. support on a CE DVD player or Real/DivX….for a PC i.e. in the end multistandard players win. Both BD & HD-DVD will exist independently during ’07 (due to the political backing they have – $$ funding the realtively small volumes) and by ’08 people will just buy Universal and not care…

  27. Hi Wesley. The article which was written at the same time period as yours, also uses iSuppli data which is more comprehensive, and cites the total cost of all ICs per unit. Of course, this doesn’t include costs for manufacturing and distribution, import duty, let alone marketing and branding. Some people have been writing about how vendors are actually steering customers towards Blu-ray, mainly because they receive higher profit margins. When you compare the hardware used in the new Toshiba XA-2, their higher quality unit, the price and spec becomes more equivalent to Blu-ray.
    From a hardware perspective, both Toshiba and Microsoft use a similar marketing strategy. They have been able to use lesser and cheaper technology to maintain a price point, but still get the job done. The output looks good, but there is always some other price that consumer pays for the cost limitations.

  28. Henry, lets be fair, HD DVD supporters have been no less abusive. If anything, I give HD DVD supporters credit for being more zealous.
    Perhaps we should all rephrase which format will win, to which format will be more dominant. Hybrid players will help take the stress out making a format choice, but as yet, they don’t fully support HDi. It is still unclear if all the compatibility issues will be resolved by 2008.
    The problem with DivX, is how it got to become DivX. Granted, you could make your own incarnation into that format, but from their perspective, could also be something that violated their DRM.
    We also have yet to see how the HD recorders, optical or otherwise, will affect the market.

  29. VHS/Betamax is a much close analogy to HD DVD/Blu-ray than anything else (such as DVD+R/DVD-R, etc).

    We’re talking physical formats that content is distributed on, not recordable media or reencoded video.

    I do agree that hybrid “multi” standard players, drives and discs could very well keep both standards alive indefinitely.

  30. I agree that the analogy of 2 opposing formats is similar, but back in 1983, when units were selling for $500 and above, they were both players and recorders. You didn’t have to think about potentially changing your TV for compatibility, and even your stereo output was simple and straigtforward. You were also forced to choose something, because nothing else existed. Now you can wait, upconvert your existing DVDs, use video-on-demand, etc.
    But Sony and the BDA know full well, that it lost that battle due to content, and they didn’t own their own major studio at the time, and have the exclusive backing of 5 studios. Blu-ray supporters mainly have to wait only on Universal, but it’s also possible for them to get the title another way.

  31. I hear ya KitDoc. Good points about all the video alternatives. A Blu-ray adopter could get most of his goodies on Blu-ray, and then buy his Universal movies on standard DVD, a much more feasible situation than the other way around (an HD DVD adopter) due to the exclusivity numbers…

  32. I have a question for you Wesley, and also anybody else who would be able to give an knowledgeable answer….If the costs of the hd media (both HD and blu-ray) discs wholesale are so low ($2 at the most), how come they end of costing the consumers so high, even after taking into consideration, the intermediaries in the market ? Thanks.

  33. Replication costs are just one part of the entire end product. Other costs include authoring, packaging, labeling, marketing/advertising, the production of the movie and much more. The content providers (movie studios) can charge as much as they want for the most valuable part of the product (the content).

    The consumer is the last link in a long chain.
    Content provider (all costs listed above) -> distributor -> retail store -> consumer.

    I have no idea what the retail markup is on a Blu-ray or HD DVD movie, but it could be close to 100% price increase “per pass”.

    In other words, if you as a consumer paid $26 for an HD DVD disc, the retail store selling it to you could have paid a wholesale cost of $13 (most likely more), the distributor could have paid half that and so on…

    Just remember that a large part of the end-cost is determined by the studios (content provider) themselves and what they think they can sell their content for. To put this into perspective, a CD-ROM only costs a few cents to manufacture nowadays, but you can find music CD’s priced at $9.99 – $25.99. You are paying for the content, not the physical parts of the product.

  34. Wow Wesley! Thanks, for such an informative answer to my earlier question on post 45, quite appreciated. 🙂 And that was pretty fast too!! Gave me quite an insight about the whole process. Thanks again!

  35. “I have included images here that break down the ProActionMedia pricing for Blu-ray and HD DVD.”

    And you believe that? Ahhaaahhaa…

  36. Forget all the spin, tap-dancing and similar from both sides and instead just watch the next two or three fiscal quarters from Sony’s PS3/BluRay division. Trust me(a 30-year financial services industry veteran who can read balance sheets and income/expense statements with the best of ’em, I think), two or three more at anything approaching a $1.5-BILLION loss like the last quarter, and Sony will drop the BluRay bit like a flaming turd. After all the bluff and bluster, you’ve got to forego any emotional attachment and remember that this is a BUSINESS – and at the end of the day, MONEY will be the final determinant. For its part, if it wishes to do so, Toshiba and the HD-DVD consortium can relentlessly undercut/underprice Sony ad infinitum. Starting out already $1.5 BILLION in the hole, Sony must try and dig itself up out of this enormous financial sinkhole FIRST, let alone get into profit. Even a company as large as the big S just can’t -and won’t – sustain these kinds of numbers for very long. So, folks, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride while carefully tching the financial pages as a SURE and CERTAIN predictor of the final outcome. Good luck, Sony, you’re goi to need it.

  37. “Blu-ray production requires completely new hardware”, while HD DVD media can be produced by modifying existing DVD manufacturing hardware.

    When these lines cost close to 2 million each, there are costs to be recovered. So as time moves on I think that more companies will convert existing DVD replication
    to HD DVD , rather than outlaying big $$ for Blu-ray lines. This will cause the supply of the HD DVD to increase driving the price down.

    But is there a significant cost difference? Is Blu-ray replication really that much more expensive than HD DVD replication?

    For market entry it is huge cost difference. Productions costs, not so much.

  38. Allan Hall said, “For market entry it is huge cost difference. Productions costs, not so much.”

    Agreed! Both Allan Hall and Milt R. Smith have some great points. The actual INITIAL cost for a plant to establish a Blu-ray production line is far greater than converting a DVD production line to HD DVD, but that point doesn’t matter to the content producers who only look at what it costs THEM to replicate their product.

    So, again this article is especially interesting because it demonstrates/illustrates that content providers can currently get their products replicated on Blu-ray for a reasonable price (compared to HD DVD). Even if Sony is taking a huge loss and subsidizing the the setup costs. The point is, Blu-ray replication is available at close to HD DVD replication pricing (currently!).

    Whether or not Sony and other BDA members collapse due their subsidies and losses is yet to be seen. Whether or not HD DVD replication plants will greatly outnumber Blu-ray replication plants is yet to be seen. Only time will tell!

  39. History is destine to repeat itself thus again sony has never won a format war what makes u thinkb there gonna start now they lost in Beta vs vhs even though Beta was crearly beter just because of price and now HD DVD is the same if not beter than Blu Ray everybody knows whats coming i can just predict it

  40. Sony is going around saying they have a 200gb disk when realy if they do who wants that much on one disk i mean put the entire star wars saga on it and get one scrach and you lose all six movies or u lost it and u cant find it this is why i prefer seperate disks per movie and peple are saying that HD DVD looks beter anyway i mean look at there slogin “The Look And Sound of Perfect” isnt that enough plus the attachable HD DVD player for gaming fans to the XBOX 360 and Microsoft fan boys it doesnt matter what electronic companies are baking u all u need is one good one like Toshiba not as big as sony but they still make the machine Microsoft hasnt made one wrong move yet theve had this planned from the start and its the perfect plan even Halo is coming in November and just to put Sony in its place the Black XBOX 360 with a 120gb hard drive that enough memory for ya

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  42. Thanks Marco, I saw the PacificDisc pricing after I had already posted my original article. In their case it seems that HD DVD DL is a little bit cheaper than BD-ROM SL. But as my articles show, some other replication facilities charge a lower price for BD-R SL compared to HD DVD DL.

  43. I think that there is some price gauging (sp?) in the industry – which is why some seem way more expensive than others. But I heard good things about PacificDisc and the services they provide. Just my 2 cents, but if were to have any HD projects, I’d try them first.

  44. Do you work for them Marco? From what I can tell PacificDisc is just a replication broker that sends their orders off to the real replication plants such as Sony DADC and others…

  45. I have no affiliation with PacificDisc, outside of using them for two DVD5 projects last year. They may be a broker, but they are one of the few sites online with pricing clearly stated. Obviously everyone needs to do they’re own research.

  46. Wesley, your numbers don’t show why and it’s very simple.

    Let me ask you this, do you know how much it costs the replication company to do HD-DVD and how much it costs them to do Blu-Ray?

    What I think is going on here is something like this:


    replication cost for HD-DVD is 50 cents
    replicatoin cost for Blu-Ray is 1 dollar

    The companies will jump at a chance for higher profit with HD-DVD any way you look at it. The numbers you’ve shown are saying nothing really.

    It’s common sense.

    If my costs are a $1 for Blu-Ray disk and I charge them $1.99 (100% profit), of course I’m going to charge $1.99 for HD-DVD as well (with 150% profit) don’t you think? The company will not tell you, “oh you know what, HD-DVD costs us 50 cents but we’ll rip you off for even more money then on Blu-Ray”. For them it’s PURE PROFIT. I guarantee you that they prefer HD-DVD format anyway you look at it.

    As I said, these numbers, even if you called them, mean nothing about the manufacturing costs of HD-DVD against Blu-Ray.

  47. No, I do not know the manufacturing plants “total cost” is for replicating the discs, I only know what they charge the customers that want their discs replicated, which is the important part. See part 2 of the article for more details on costs:

    What I have found from talking to numerous replication companies is that single layer Blu-ray (25GB) is less expensive to replicate than double layer HD DVD (30GB). If single layer HD DVD (15GB) does not have enough capacity (which most people claim is not enough) then SL Blu-ray is the least expensive format to get your high definition content replicated on.

  48. I think all of you are looking at this wrong. It is not the cost to make the disc but the cost of piracy and duplication. If HD-DVD cost .50 to make and Blu-Ray cost 1.00 that would add .50 to the price of each movie. Big deal. However if you could release a movie on a 30 gig disc or uncompressed on a 75 gig disc it would not be practical to release on the web if you cracked it. Also Blu-Ray leaves a tag on the disc as part of it’s encryption that follows the copy. With the advent of all the tracking going on at retailers you could almost really put a damper on pirates. this would led to more studio support and lower prices in the long run due to higher profits. The major studios like Blu-ray because pirates not disc cost steal profits. They are convinced that blu-ray has better protection through it’s two encyption layers and sheer size. This is why blu-ray is really cheaper and a better format.

  49. Compare equivalent (almost) 2nd-gen players at (the cheapest I found today):

    Samsung BD-P1200 @ $499.99
    Toshiba HD-XA2 @ $594.99

    They go up and down (mostly down), and stay within that range. Older (1st-gen) players are cheaper, but HD movie watchers who actually wish to purchase these products are usually not “1st-gen” people anyway (myself definitely included). Dual format players cost the sum of the two, so you may as well wait to have the “losing” player in your hands before paying the other half for a “winning” deck (if you’re thinking that route). No appreciable difference in media costs. Expect to pay around 30 bucks for new releases and 20-ish for older movies.

    Throw out the “movies for download” and “adult content on disc determines the winner” arguments, as we all download our adult content and prefer our movies on disc. Has anyone attempted to download a 30-gig HD movie over cable (no less) at 500KB/s? It would take nearly 17 hours (if you could maintain that speed). Adult content downloads pretty fast (usually 10 minutes or so), and I can deal with that. Downloaded adult content is easy to hide. Purchased movies are easy to watch on the big screen. Simple.

    Production cost: $0.15 fluctuation won’t even be passed on to the retail purchaser. If it were, would that amount influence your decision on which format to buy? Both formats have somewhere around 300 titles to choose from. Whether they’re 15, 25, 30, 45, or 50 gb has little influence for myself. Both formats appear to successfully support a full length movie. If production cost affects the studios’ profit, then more studios will pick whichever is significantly cheaper.

    Perhaps each individual should just invest in whichever format gives him/herself the titles they prefer. The market will then sort itself out, and (approximately) half of the people will have to spend three or four hundred to purchase the other format. I personally chose Blu-ray. I preferred the titles that were released and accepted the risk of purchasing another deck in the (near?) future. After paying $4000 for my 71″ DLP, $3000 for home theater audio equipment (which is nothing compared to some others), and $400 just for the TV stand, I am willing to accept a $300 loss on a new player (should it come down to that).

  50. approximately how much does a place like blockbuster pay per dvd from a distributor. this is for a dvd that blockbuster buys in bulk and then intends to rent? how much of the rental fees go back to the studios? anybody up on this?

  51. It depends, there are revenue sharing deals with some studios. Otherwise, they have to pay the wholesale price and I’m not sure what that would be…

  52. Personally, I am angry with the companies for not coming to an agreement on which format to produce and sell, instead they practically split it down the middle and they always sport their own format. This causes consumer confusion, and on top of that if one format beats out the other, the ones who invested into the losing format will have lost a lot of money. This is why this war can end 1 of 2 ways. Firstly, DVD will be superior for atleast another 5 years. Secondly, this is my personal opinion, both formats will end up being just about 50/50 and consumers will have to end up buying a hybrid player when the prices of the next gen features go down. Thirdly, Blu-ray might win because it has a lot of backing, but backing isn’t necessarily a huge deciding factor. HD-DVD could come out ahead due to its lower cost in the market (Toshiba doesn’t make you adopt a full 1080p output on your player, which reduces the cost. On top of that HD-DVD has DVD in it, so that is just one consumer friendly aspect of it. If you honestly believe that all the consumers out there care about the specifications of the formats, you’re wrong, it’s only the early adopters who care about that crap. Consumers, as a whole, care about price and the quality of the price, which of course, you get the same movie on both formats, but HD-DVD is cheaper. So i think if Toshiba right now were to make 100 dollar price cuts on all of their players, they would destroy blu-ray, but of course at a huge loss.

  53. Very flawed report. You fail to mention the inital setup for the plant. The problem has never been with Media.

    For a little insight.. Sony just spent $81 million upgrading their Indiana plant to allow the production of BD50 discs. One of only two plants in the world.

    $81 million is many times more than any profits made by both sides thus far.

    As an alternative, they can switch a DVD production facility to a HD-DVD production facility for roughly $170,000US

  54. Hi Dave, I’m not sure what Hard Coat technology is used. But from what I understand it is required for all BD-ROM Discs. It could be TDK “Durabis” technology.

  55. Hmmm… Well, I believe some coating is required–but I wouldn’t assume it’s a hard coat. Would you mind asking and adding another comment with the information?

  56. Sure, I will check into this and post back here with my findings. And to clarify, I’m not sure if it is a “Hard Coat” or just a scratch resistant coating. I spoke to another industry friend just now, and he also believes that it is TDK Durabis technology that is used on all Blu-ray Discs.

  57. I found an article from that confirms Blu-ray Discs are using TDK scratch resistant technology. Here are the relevant excerpts:

    “The coating has also been endorsed by the industry group behind the next-generation DVD format known as Blu-ray Disc, which has faced significant concerns over its susceptibility to scratches.”

    “TDK’s coating could become crucial for the long-term competitiveness of Blu-ray, which can hold up 50GB of data on a dual-layer disc compared with the common 4.7GB DVDs. The format is facing off against rival technology known as HD DVD, which stores less data–30GB on a dual-layer disc–but is no more damage prone than ordinary DVDs.”


  58. Thanks, Wesley. Still, not all discs use the TDK technology. It’s my understanding that Sony and Paramount use or have used a slightly different technology on their discs. I do believe that most professional commercial releases do use the technology–however, I’m not certain that it necessarily follows that these smaller replication houses do the same. Is there any way you can confirm with your sources for these smaller replicators directly?

  59. I am a project manager at a large video production company in Chicago. I have done a ton or research on replication prices of HD vs. Blu Ray, mostly 1000-5000 piece quantities though. Blu ray set up charges are rediculous and you need to pay the AACS encryption fee of $1500 per title. I can tell you though that we found a vendor called Idea Media ( that sold us 1000 retail packaged HD DVD 15’s for $2600. This included all setup charges, mastering, disc, case, outer wrap and packaging. They also do the HD DVD Hybrid discs for $3.00 each at 1000. They do offer Blu ray retail packages at 1000 but for like $7.00.
    I also think that anaylizing price per gig is stupid. It doesnt matter if your content is 1GB or 15GB the price per disc is still the same.

  60. This article was obviously written by someone that has never placed an order for any replicated media. The main considerations for content producers looking to distribute video on HD Media is the finished, packaged, per unit cost and the machine base. You don’t sell bulk replicated movies, unless you’re NetFlix. There are two types of people who order mass replicated media. These are feature film studios and everyone else. Feature film studios are dealing in such large quantites that AACS and $2500 setup charges don’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things. If you divide out the $2300 difference in setup charges between BD and HD DVD across a 25,000 piece order, it makes less than a penny per unit difference, while it amounts to a difference of $2.30 per unit on a 1000 piece order.

    Feature film studios don’t win or lose either way. The format wars’ real impact will be on the small guys. These are the colleges who use disc media to recruit students, the startup businesses who use promo DVDs to raise brand awareness, the small skateboard company that wants to make their retail video debut, and the summer camp who just wants to attract potential campers. These are the people who are truly affected by the huge difference in cost between BD and HD DVD, which is most apparent in smaller quantities.

    Furthermore, because HD DVDs are made using modifications to existing DVD equipment, the initial cost of doing business for the replicators is relatively low. This means that they will pay off these initial investments quickly, which means that HD DVD prices will drop rapidly as the machines get paid off. BD equipment is a whole new animal, and requires millions to get into. This assures that the price of replication will stay high for BD discs for a long time to come.

    I think that both HD DVD and BD formats get the job done equally as well. The decision you have to make is whether you support a one company monopoly that strangles small businesses and effectively price fixes to eliminate the possibility of a competitive market, or a format that is readily available to all replicators for a much lower entry price, allowing for fierce competition that keeps the prices as low as possible for everyone who has a need for replicated product, whether they are large or small.

  61. If the discs are really under 2 bucks to reproduce, why hasn’t any company ever offered a ‘scratch & dent’ replacement at like 3 bucks per movie? you ship them the bad disc and they ship you the good one for 3 bucks?

    A brick & mortar music store I used to buy CDs from back in the day had a policy that if your CD EVER got scratched and unplayable they would replace it for like $1.99 or something. I think they were named MusicMan. (not sure on the store name).

    I’d like to see the studios allow at least libraries that loan movies the ability to replace their scratched up dvd’s for a minimal fee. The cost of replacement movies for small libraries is pretty tough when it’s done due to normal wear and tear, and not chargable to a parton. (vs. obvious abuse which they would charge the patron for.)

    Just a thought for those studio guys that may be trolling these forums.

    Xander Phillips

  62. Never mind. I just did some google’ing and apparently they DO now offer replacement dvd’s for damaged ones. (the prices are a bit steep considering you have to pay shipping on sending the bad disc in to them)


  63. Nicole, do you know why you have to pay a $1,500 AACS encryption charge for Blu-ray and not for HD DVD? They both use AACS encryption.

  64. Sony has a contract with AACS that says that their encryption is required on every BD title. Not sure how long or what the details are. HD DVD can be mastered w/o AACS so I assume there was no exclusivity deal there. Im pretty sure there wont be a piracy issue with either platform for at least a year or two hmmmm….

  65. But HD DVD films are not replicated without AACS on them. Are you suggesting the commercial world actually puts out HD DVD content without copy protection?

  66. One thing that factors into replication cost is yield %. Yield % for HD DVD is much greater, meaning that 70-90% of that 100,000 disc order turn out to actually be useable. Whereas, Blu-Ray yields have been as low as 10%. 10% out of 100,000 thats only 10,000 discs. And guess what, the customer still has to pay for all 100,000 discs. That in turn makes the replication costs greater for Blu-Ray.

  67. I don’t think it matters anymore because blu ray has now become the new technology.

  68. Well, for those of us who are doing small runs in the 1,000 to 2,000 piece range for videos shot on a small budget, the Blu-ray prices are astronomical and make no economic sense. $4 per disc plus about $5,000 in setup and license fees for all the crap they have built into the spec. Compare that with closer to $1.50 per disc for a normal DVD shrinkwrapped in an Amaray case. This will ensure that small budget videos never make it to Blu-ray or HD.

  69. As a disc replicator we still haven’t seen large scale blu-ray replication orders. We do see more and more people putting high definition video on regular DVD as AVCHD to be played on blu-ray players though.

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