Blu-ray and "low cost" were worlds apart when the technology first started surfacing about three years ago. When the PS3 launched with its very high MSRP, it was still among the more affordable options available. Stuffing the drives in notebooks wasn't even considered by most, and today only a handful of portables are Blu-ray-equipped.

Prices have come down, though. Blu-ray drives now cost less than a tenth than their debut -- and this decline will continue into next year. Some estimates indicate that a price mark well below $100 is feasible for 2010. Because of that, laptops with Blu-ray drives are expected to take off next year, slowly supplanting DVD drives as the standard.

The biggest issue for consumers is the willingness of manufacturers to be more aggressive on pricing. That can only happen if Blu-ray drives reach a certain point of critical mass. Once they do, there will be little incentive to stick with a DVD drive, even on budget notebooks.