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Sony pours water on fiery Blu-ray Disc sales forecasts

How much will punter spend on home entertainment now they're not going out as much?

Blu-ray Disc sales won't meet previously enthusiastic predictions, a senior Sony staffer has warned.

But the HD disc format will still be a popular purchase during the holiday season, he added.

Speaking to newsagency Reuters, Stan Glasgow, head of Sony's electronics business in the US, said that the world sales target of 5m BD players will not now be reached, though he reckons equipment suppliers won't fall far short of it: they'll set 4.5m units - 90 per cent of the previous forecast - instead.

Driving the uptake in these tough economic times will be post-Thanksgiving discounting in the US. The States' holiday next Thursday will be followed by "Black Friday", a day when retailers briefly slash prices to get Americans off the sofa and out to the shops.

In the US, cheaper players are already nudging the $200 mark, and that's persuaded some observers to forecast a Blu Christmas. Sales will be helped by consumers keen to save money. They'll splash out on home entertainment kit, it's claimed, but reduce spending over time by going out less frequently.

That said, buyers who don't yet own an HD TV - an essential component of any Blu-ray system - may feel less inclined to treat themselves to one in these tough times. That's likely to be a strong factor in how the market evolves, especially in Europe where HD TV ownership is lower than it is in the US.

Or they may simply opt for smaller, cheaper screens and favour low-cost HD content like that provided by free-to-air satellite broadcast service Freesat.

Market watcher Futuresource recently forecast that by the end of the year, some 800,000 BD play back devices will be installed in Western European homes. That figure will rise to 1.8m in 2009, with PS3 units increasing the figure even further. By 2010, the grand total of players and PS3s will hit 7m, it said.

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