Sony hopes that you’ll take your HD movies on the road with you, and view them on the new VAIO AR Premium notebook computer. It is scheduled to ship this summer for about $3,500, and will have a 17-inch wide display, analog TV tuner, and a Blu-ray drive with both read and write capabilities. The drive reportedly will support DVD+R/+RW formats as well.
Sony will also offer a standard model for about $1,800. This means that you’ll pay about $1,700 extra for the Blu-ray equipped model. Yes, there apparently are other extra features that result in that price difference, but it’s still a steep price to pay.
I remain unconvinced that Blu-ray will get past the early adopters any time soon. It looks like it is going to be expensive, even compared with the HD DVD competition, and with new MPEG4 software available, people will be able to edit and record HD content on existing DVD+/- R/RW drives without the extra expense of a blue laser DVD drive. Unless the PS3 is a huge success and tilts the scales in favor of Blu-ray through an instant installed base, I don’t see it taking off any time soon. And I’m not going to be surprised if Sony misses this “summer” release date for the notebook.