It wasn't that long ago when Blu-ray and HD-DVD players were beginning to hit the market, and people were shirking at $1,000 price tags. Slowly enough it fell to $900, $800 and so on. Technology improved, first generation drives were replaced and soon the drives began entering into the “affordable” territory below $500. For many, though, that's still a big price barrier, especially so in countries that have lower per capita income than others, such as China. Luckily for them, and most likely the rest of the Blu-ray market down the road, there is apparently a significant price drop in the works for Blu-ray players from Pioneer.

In particular, the retail price of the BDC-SO2BKZ player is being reduced to 999 yuan, which translates to a price tag of only $145 – less than half the cost compared to the original $300 price tag when the BDC-SO2 hardware was initially released a little over a year ago. In fact, this puts that particular unit in the same price range as a standalone BDC-202 unit. Part of the price drop may have to do with the 2008 Olympic Games being held in China.

While that's a bit far from U.S. markets, it's a good indicator that things like sub-$100 players within the year are feasible. That will definitely help the Blu-ray market, which has seen fairly poor sales despite the lack of a competing HD format.