It's not as if we needed persuading of the supremacy of Blu-ray, but the news from Japan this morning that Pioneer will soon become the seventh Japanese electronics firm to sell BD decks is encouraging for the sake of healthy competition.

What we didn't expect, however, is that Pioneer will be taking a slightly different approach to that of market leaders Sony, Panasonic and Sharp by having a third party build its BD machines.

Boutique market

That third party will, in fact, be Sharp, which has confirmed it is building the Blu-ray recorders for Pioneer with a view to having an entire product line-up in the shops by the end of the year.

Beyond those rough details, there are no further comments from either firm, although we understand that Pioneer is keen to position itself as something of a 'boutique' A/V merchant.

One possibility is that the company will sell entire home-cinema systems, comprising a BD recorder, audio gear and plasma television.

We'll update you when we know the precise details, but the move could hasten the arrival of more affordable Blu-ray players early next year.