Sony's semiconductor subsidiary recently announced an increase in blue-violet laser diode production, with a monthly capacity of 1.7 million, and capability to produce up to five million with future upgrades. In June the diodes are expected to cost around $8 per diode in bulk, as compared to a price of $125 per drive (including the diode and other parts) when they came onto the market last year. Analysts predict that the lower cost of materials will likely drive manufacturers of blue-laser products to lower their own prices, with the PlayStation 3 benefiting from this reduction by allowing Sony to reduce the price, possibly even lower than $499, to be very competitive with the Xbox 360 Elite model. Of course, Toshiba could also theoretically take advantage of similar cost savings to reduce the price of their own HD DVD players. Perhaps that Wal-mart player
isn't such a far-fetched idea after all.