The downward price pressure on Blu-ray technology looks set to increase after the US Justice Department announced an investigation into some of the key players in the optical drive market.

Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi are all facing a probe to determine if they wield too much power in the market for optical drives, essentially meaning DVD and Blu-ray hardware.

Precedent set

The inquiry comes after a previous US drive to root out price-fixing by firms such as LG and Hitachi in the supply of LCD TVs and components. In that case, several companies admitted working together to manipulate the market.

While stakes are high for the businesses concerned, the immediate impact of a successful inquiry is likely to be cheaper price tags on Blu-ray hardware on shop shelves.