Ritek plans to start mass producing BD-RE (Blu-Ray Disc Rewritable) discs as well as HD DVD-RE (high definition) discs in the third quarter of this year. Taiwanese disc maker Ritek's move is seen as an important step towards reducing the cost of rewriteable Blu-ray Discs for users.

BD-RE and HD DVD-RE high-definition optical discs will initially remain pricey. The average cost per high-def optical disc will remain around £5 in retail outlets, despite production costs of around $5 (£2.50) per disc, said Eric Ai, a Ritek representative. Prices won't come down until other mass disc producers in Taiwan win accreditation to make the Blu-ray and HD-DVD discs, and then ramp up production volumes.

Each single-layer BD-RE disc has a capacity of 25GB, enough to hold three hours of terrestrial digital high-definition TV, or six hours of standard TV. HD DVD-RE discs can hold around 20GB of data, while standard DVD discs hold 4.7GB.

A handful of Taiwanese companies dominate the disc mass production business, including Ritek and CMC Magnetics. These companies license disc technology from developers and then spin out as many of the discs as they can in a bid to drive down the cost of each disc and earn as much revenue as possible.

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