Now that Blu-ray has won the high definition optical storage race, one particular barrier to widespread adoption has been the still high price tag for equipment. That should change towards the end of the year, according to SonyNEC Optiarc, who is predicting desktop Blu-ray combo drives (DVD burners with Blu-ray reading capability) will reach the $100 mark in time for the holiday season.

Slim drives for notebooks will be a bit more expensive to build but should still reach the $150 price point in the same timeframe, whereas Blu-ray burners will be priced in the region of $150-$200. The company wasn’t too far off when it suggested BD prices would be halved by 2008 from what they were in late 2006, so I sure hope their new claims will become more than just wishful thinking. Whether this would have a knock-on effect for standalone Blu-ray players as well remains to be seen though.