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25,000 single-layer 25GB Blu-ray discs a day.


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Sony DADC officially launched Blu-ray disc production in the U.S. last week with the ability to manufacture 750,000 single-layer BD discs a month, just ahead of the format’s launch at the end of June.


The company now has three Blu-ray replication lines in the U.S. with the ability to make 25,000 single-layer 25GB Blu-ray discs a day.


But some replication business insiders claim those numbers are low; in comparison, European replication equipment maker Singulus claims its HD DVD line has a daily output of 20,000 discs from one line, which would make it nearly three times more efficient than Sony DADC’s Blu-ray production. Singulus doesn’t provide outputs from its Blu-Line Blu-ray replicating line.



Sony DADC is the only U.S. company currently replicating Blu-ray discs and as such is expected to handle production for all Blu-ray studios.


Sony DADC said it expects to add manufacturing lines and increase capacity to nearly 5 million discs a month by October, ahead of the critical fourth quarter. By then, it says, it also will be able to make dual-layer 50GB discs on six lines.


It’s unclear when the studios will have a title on a 50GB disc ready for market. Blu-ray supporting studios—particularly Buena Vista Home Entertainment—have been awaiting the 50GB discs, however. Greater capacity will allow for more high-definition bonus features that could be key to luring consumers to the format.


Sony reps declined to say what they expect initial volume to be or what the cost of manufacturing would be for initial Blu-ray titles. However, it is expected to be more than DVD or HD DVD costs.


“Sony DADC is thrilled to be the leading optical disc manufacturing facility in the U.S. and have a full Blu-ray BD-ROM line ready for production,” Sony DADC president Dieter Daum said in a statement announcing the start of production.


Sony DADC has an offset printer and packaging line dedicated to Blu-ray production. It also has a Phase Transition Mastering machine, which can master Blu-ray and standard-definition discs on one system. A second Phase Transition machine will be added this summer and three more packaging lines will be added by October.


The company will begin offering Blu-ray disc authoring services to customers in July.

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