According to multiple reports, Sony is closing its Optiarc division.
Sony Optiarc, which is its own subsidiary responsible for the company’s production of optical disc drives, will completely shut down operations by March of next year.
Optiarc was formerly a joint venture with NEC, but Sony bought out NEC’s stake back in 2008.
The company has a 15 percent market share of the optical disc drive market, but has been running at a loss for years now. This is thanks to ‘fierce competition’ from overseas, say the sources.
After ceasing operations next year, the company will liquidate everything remaining, so stay tuned for some cheaper DVD drives.
Additionally, 400 employees will be laid off, or leave the company via an early retirement package.
Result for: dvd drive
Best Buy and Sonic Solutions, the owner of the popular Roxio CinemaNow movie service have signed a deal today that will see the giant retailer begin selling Sonic’s services.
Says the WSJ: “Sonic said in a federal filing it had issued warrants to purchase 668,711 of its common shares for $100,000. The warrants vest over a two-year period and then Best Buy will be able to buy the shares at $4.98.”
Best Buy will begin selling devices with CinemaNow in-store, including DVD drives and computers.
“Our relationship with Sonic Solutions allows Best Buy to quickly establish a strong position in the digital delivery of video entertainment,” adds Best Buy CEO Brian Dunn.
Result for: dvd drive
The results of a new survey by Harris Interactive show that despite winning the hi-def format war Blu-ray isn’t showing any real signs it will become a mainstream success. In fact they indicate more people own standalone HD DVD players (11%) than Blu-ray players (7%).
When you factor in PS3 game consoles and the Xbox 360 add on HD DVD drive the numbers shift to favor Blu-ray, but it’s not as big a margin as you might expect. Even including these numbers, Blu-ray only holds a 2% lead (16% vs 14%).
Clearly those numbers don’t look right if you assume people are buying these players for their compatibility with the high definition format of their choice.
Unless the format of their choice is upscaled DVD. And in fact that’s what most people who responded to the survey seem to be indicating.
Even though respondents said they would buy fewer standard definition discs this year than last, they aren’t planning to convert those purchases to Blu-ray titles.
Barely more than a fifth of Blu-ray owners surveyed are replacing the titles in their DVD collection with Blu-ray versions. More than 40% are waiting for disc prices to drop before they expand their collection of high definition discs.
The picture gets worse when you look at people who don’t own Blu-ray players yet. More than 90% don’t plan to be buying one this year either.
This doesn’t mean manufacturers can’t change their minds with the right pricing strategy. But simply selling a player also won’t guarantee disc sales.