While standalone Blu-ray and HD DVD players have had significant price reductions in recent months, optical units for the PC have remained relatively high. Particularly on the Blu-ray front, the cost of PC units has been very high, significantly higher than comparable HD DVD units.

Now, that's starting to shift. Yesterday, Phillips and Lite-On announced the availability of the PLDS DH-4O1S. It won't burn anything and of course it will not accept HD DVD discs, but it will play back CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray media - all for only $199, a relatively low figure for Blu-ray to date. Standalone units are still the better choice for general consumers, but at least now more HD PC hardware is becoming available without bleeding the bank.

When DVD drives first began emerging into PCs, it was around the time they started dipping below the $200 price point that they really began taking off. If this price trend between HD DVD and Blu-ray continues, 2008 may be promising for both standards.