Blu Christmas coming, format fans forecast
But DVD is very far from defunct
IFA Christmas is going to be a truly festive season for Blu-ray Disc, the organisation behind the optical disc standard forecast today.
But it's going to be some time before the format ousts DVD in European consumers' affections.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) based its rosy prediction on numbers put out by local market watcher Futuresource last week. Futuresource, formerly known as Understanding and Solutions, has long been a torch-bearer for BD.
The company reckons some 12m BDs will have been purchased in Europe this year, which sounds a lot but is still only around two per cent of the combined video sales in busy markets like the UK and France.
Look ahead to 2012, and BDs sales will have leapt to 240m a year.
That's very good news for the BD supply chain, for sure, but it's not DVD's death knell.
Futuresource's numbers indicate that none of the major European economies will have seen BD sales surpass DVD sales by that time. Four years on - all presumably resounding to the kerching of sales tills at Christmas as consumers, following the BDA's suggestion, splash out on PS3s... er... Blu-ray players - and the best the format will have done is equal DVD sales in France.
In the UK, DVD will still lead in 2012, 56 per cent to 44 per cent. BD will do better in Germany - it'll take 46 per cent of the market - but less well in Spain and Italy - 43 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively.
And this at a time when the numbers of HD TVs in European homes will be at an all-time high.
The point here is that there's nothing wrong with Blu-ray, simply that it's clearly not winning hearts and minds as well as you might expect from all the consumer electronics industry's 'everything HD' boosterism.
DVDs, which have never been cheaper and will be more so come 2012 - they'll be giving them away by then - are clearly satisfying the vast majority of consumers, despite being standard definition.
And the BDA avoids discussing the notion of downloads, assuming the UK's seemingly creaky broadband infrastrucure will be able to cope with HD file transfers by 2012. It certainly will in the rest of Europe - for many European countries it is already.
There is a role for BD, but the industry's going to have to work harder if it wants the format to be more than the video equivalent of DVD Audio and Super Audio CD - an upgrade the masses don't feel they need.
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I won't use blu ray until I can get a blu ray recorder for the tv.
I don't care...
I don't care any more.
I used to buy films that I liked etc, but with all this arse crap going on, I just don't care. I won't buy anything any more and will just stick to downloading it.
There, said it.
"Saying that there isn't a great deal of difference between DVD and HD is something I just don't get. "
Me neither: I often wonder if these people have actually seen an HD movie, TV production etc. My 92 year old granny could see the difference.
They are so fervently anti-Sony, I think some just make it up. Strange also that some also think that HD DVD should have 'won'.
Perhaps it's really just an extension of the XBox versus PS3 pissing contest. They'll never get over the fact that BluRay won.
All those going on about price...
It took over two years with DVD for the price of a mainstream, new release blockbuster film to drop below £20 on the high street. Even then you still had to shop about, and HMV and Zaavi (then virgin), where still charging £20 on the nose.
Bemoaning the high costs of BR in the CONTEXT that people are, as in slagging the format in itself and getting all holier than thou, is bollocks and just shows that people have really short memories, or are too young to have gone through the DVD transition from the start of the previous format.
@Paul Ackerley - Do you know how much a DVD-RW cost for the first two years of DVD? huh? £10+ at first. Then £8 in the third year and only at the end of the fourth year when DVD burners dropped below £100 and found their way into homes in large amounts did the blank media become cheap enough to be an option for everyday consumers to use. Ooooh and then whaddaya know... the prices of films dipped below £15 too as blank media production got cheaper too. I used to pay £20 for 20 blank DVD-R's in the middle of fourth year of the DVD life cycle, and that was reasonable at the time. If people are still mad enough to seriously consider HMV and Zaavi (Zaavi especially), to be real contenders for all your media purchases, then you have more money than sense to start with. Zaavi are merely trying to recoup all the money they paid Branson for the management buyout. If you don't know all of this you need to get educated as a consumer very quickly and stop being led around by the nose by the market place so much, instead of sitting there slagging a product completely out of context as you are.
BR films are falling in price at the same rate DVD's were at the end of the same two year time period of the product. And before anyone says anything, YES I REALLY do know what I'm talking about because of my job, and yes I AM quoting hard facts.
The issue is actually whether in the current climate, can anyone truly afford to invest in a new format in large enough quantities to accelerate the price drops as happened with DVD at the end of the third year of the product and make BR mainstream at the rate predicted? No probably not. Especially when the leap in quality seen from VHS to DVD is not so high with DVD to BR, (in spite of there being a very noticeable increase if you have had your eyes tested recently and have even a half decent TV),
So whilst I agree with the naysayers, I do so for a totally different, educated reason. Not the ‘knees jerking so hard they are smashing me in the face’ reasons some morons are coming up with in here.
And yes, I am well and truly on my high horse and feeling very superior and happy with myself now I made my points!
For crying out loud
I have all the kit, a Samsung 1080p screen, a Samsung BD player, Denon amp and Mission 6.1 speaker set-up. Yes, it cost a fortune (well, around £3,000), but then the previousn set-up of imported Pioneer DVD, Sony amp and Sony speakers equally cost a fortune (around £2,000) and that was some 10 years ago.
The cost of the equipment today, to a comparable time in the previous generations life-span, is lower in real terms. DVD players were still costing close to £500 for a decent one a couple of years after release, BD players can now be had for around £200 (and yes, they are profile 2 compliant, with a firm-ware upgrade).
Anyone who cant see the difference between an SD signal, upscaled DVD, 720p and 1080p should either get their eyes examined or actually set the TV up correctly (this takes a calibration disk and about an hour of your time). There is a huge difference.
As for DRM, i'm assuming people actually mean HDCP. This and the regional coding can be blamed on the same group of people - the studios. Nobody actually wants this crap, not the users, as it's irritating; nor the manufacturers, as it puts up their costs; but the studios do and it's them you should be blaming.
Regional coding has only universally been embraced by Fox on BD, some studios don't use it at all and some use it sporadically. Your best bet is to check www.bluray.com which helpfully tells you whether the disk is region locked or not and you can therefore make a choice about which version to buy. For example, Blade Runner is more cost effective on the US version than the UK - US 5 disk version (only released on DVD in the UK) £21, UK 2 disk version £18.
Finally, I do agree that the prices (at least the RRP) of disks has been silly, but it is coming down and the more you keep buying from e-tailers (where the prices are more around the £15 or so that people can stomach), the more the high-street will drop theirs. The reason for bargains on DVD's is the same as the reason we got outrageous bargains in the dying days of VHS - shops make more money on "luxury" items. One BD will make as much for the shop as 5 or more DVD's, so financially it makes more sense for them to stock and sell them.