Blu-ray Market Share...Drops?
Sales data from Nielsen VideoScan found Blu-ray's share of the video disc
mark actually dropped during the week ending September 14.
When competing high-definition disc format HD DVD threw in the towel in
early 2008, most industry watchers were expecting a surge of consumer interest
in Sony's victorious Blu-ray format. Now that the battle was over, market
watchers reasoned, consumers would flock to the high-definition world, assured
that their movie purchases would be compatible with future gear for a long time
Except it hasn't happened, at least not to the degree industry watchers
expected. Several factors play into consumer's less-than-enthusiastic embrace of
Blu-ray, including a general economic downturn, Blu-ray gear hanging on to
comparatively high prices, and consumers turning to alternative sources of HD
content like high-definition cable, satellite, and download services. Also
factor in increasing quality (and affordability) of upscaling DVD players, and
many consumers just don't feel the urge to dive into Blu-ray.
Now, new numbers from market-watcher Nielsen VideoScan finds that Blu-ray's
share of the video disc market actually dropped during the week ending September
14, declining to an even 8 percent of the overall market. (Yes, the rest of the
market is standard DVDs.) The drop represents a proportionate 13.4 decline over
Blu-ray's showing the previous week.
Earlier this year, Sony executives predicted Blu-ray sales would account for as
much as 50 percent of the home video disc market by the end of 2008. However,
now industry experts believe Blu-ray won't have much of an impact on the overall
market during 2008, barring extraordinary price cuts and consumer interest
during the upcoming holiday season.
Blu-ray Disc Association says it’s too early to lower prices
So the Blu-ray disc is the only physical high-definition format left in the
market, but that isn’t going to translate into lower prices any time soon,
according to Andy Parsons, the Chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association.
Parsons, who is also the senior VP of Advanced Product Development at Pioneer
Electronics, told attendees at the DisplaySearch/NPD HDTV conference in Los
Angeles that Blu-ray volume needs to increase before content makers and set-top
makers can cut prices.
Parsons was speaking as part of a panel on high-definition formats and told the
audience that Blu-ray hardware and disc prices are behaving the same as when DVD
players were first getting popular. “There’s not enough market [volume] to lower
the price,” Parsons said, adding that companies have to build “awareness and
demand for the technology," before prices can decrease.
In terms of market volume, DVD players and discs still rule the market and Blu-ray
is being sold at a premium (relatively speaking). The cheapest BD player is
currently selling for approximately $230 with many players still selling for
$300 to $600 dollars. DVD players in contrast are almost give-aways these days,
costing less than $100. Blu-ray movies often sell for $25 and up while DVDs can
easily be bought for $20 and under. But Parsons points out that DVD didn’t start
out at $49, adding, “people complained about it [pricing] back then too.”
Even though Blu-ray easily fought off HD-DVD, Parson admits the format isn’t
going to get a free ride from consumers. Digital downloads will be a worthy
threat to Blu-ray, but he says people understand packaged media better and that
consumers want something that, “they can hold in their hands”. Furthermore,
Parsons believes packaged media will remain the dominant format.
But in the end, DVDs could be the biggest threat to Blu-ray. According to Danny
Kaye, EVP of Global Research and Technology Strategy at 20th Century Home
Entertainment, don’t count the standard definition disc out just yet. “We buried
DVD long before its time … it’s going to be a long time before it dies,” he
LG Electronics' BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player Available This Fall at
LG Electronics today announced the nationwide availability of the BD300
Network Blu-ray Disc Player, featuring unparalleled access to disc-based and
networked home video entertainment. The BD300 is the world's first Blu-ray disc
player that instantly streams movies and TV episodes from Netflix (subscription
required and sold separately).
Available next month, the LG BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player will be offered
at national retailers such as Best Buy and Circuit City, and specialty retailers
nationwide at a suggested retail price of $399.95.
"At LG we considered what, when and how consumers want to watch movies and
television episodes. The result is the ultimate convergence of home theater
entertainment and functionality," said Allan Jason, vice president of sales and
marketing for Digital Media/New Products Division at LG Electronics USA. "With
intelligent features and access to an ever-growing library of movie and
television titles, the BD300 is the next step in a truly personalized
Consumers are constantly seeking new, faster ways to find and customize content
for their home entertainment experience. According to JupiterResearch, an
estimated 46 percent of U.S. households will own at least one Blu-ray-capable
device in the next five years. Additionally, a report from Centris indicates
almost 40 million households purchase paid content; 80 million have access to
pay-per-view and 27 million use DVRs. To meet this
growing interest in content on-demand, LG's BD300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player
revolutionizes the home entertainment experience by providing exceptional
audio-video performance, access to a fast-growing library of high-quality Blu-ray
discs, up-scaling of standard DVDs to 1080p, and unprecedented instant access to
content from Netflix.
The BD300 enables movie enthusiasts to take advantage of advanced technologies
such as BD Live which offers a wide variety of content, such as movie scene
extras, new previews and the ability to read synopses and rate movies. Also
included is BonusView which provides picture-in-picture access to Blu-ray disc
special features allowing consumers to toggle between their favorite movie
scenes and bonus features on the disc.
Consumers will also enjoy the BD300's ease of operation for instantly watching
movies and television episodes from Netflix. The BD300 instantly streams movies
and TV episodes Netflix members place in an "instant Queue" from more than
12,000 choices available at the Netflix Web site. Netflix members access this
feature directly from the on-screen menu and simply select the movie or TV
episode from their instant Queue to watch in as little as 30 seconds with no
personal computer needed. The BD300 enables fast-forwarding and rewinding of the
video stream from Netflix, or simply stopping it to resume watching at a later
Uncompromising in style and performance, the BD300's glossy black paneling and
elegant, easy-to-use backlit touch sensor buttons are modern additions to any
home theater system. Even standard DVDs get the royal treatment with the BD300's
ability to take standard definition formats and upscale them to 1080p. The BD300
also includes advanced audio format decoding such as Dolby TrueHD / Digital Plus
and DTS-HD Advanced Digital Out for a crisper, clearer auditory experience.
Consumers will appreciate the USB Media Plus function which allows for the
playback of their favorite photos, music and video files from a USB drive
directly to their TV screen. To further personalize and simplify the home
theater experience, the BD300 includes LG. impLink(TM)
technology, which gives consumers the ability to control similarly equipped LG
products via convenient on-screen menus or directly from the product itself.