Panasonic, Philips and Sony today published plans to create a single licensing firm for Blu-ray discs. The new, unnamed company will let companies visit just one place to get rights to make Blu-ray burners, movie players and discs and as a result should lower the costs of the licenses themselves. The group estimates that the cost of a license should drop "at least" 40 percent versus today's approach, which requires talking to each of the three partner companies individually.

In examples of licensing, the partners expect a license to cost $9.50 for a read-only Blu-ray device and $14 for a burner. Discs will cost 11 cents for read-only discs, 12 cents for write-once BD-Rs and 15 cents for rewritable BD-RE discs.

All the companies also hint that the measures are meant to enforce licensing and will take "special measures" to both push licensing and to make unauthorized devices easier to spot.

The moves are all crucial to the adoption of Blu-ray, which despite its victory over HD DVD has yet to significantly overtake DVD for either movies or computer storage. Much of the reluctance has been attributed to high prices both for devices and for blank discs, with the least expensive Blu-ray movie players costing about $200 and recordable Blu-ray discs costing $10 or more each versus prices just a fraction of either for their DVD equivalents.

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