Blu-ray backers highlight rising demand
Player shortages, consumer fears exaggerated, it's claimed
The Blu-ray Disc Alliance (BDA) has pooh-pooh'd claims that demand for the format is slowing under the recessionary pressures. It even forecast "Blu-ray will enter the mainstream" in Q1 2009.
Still, it's circumspect about releasing real numbers. The best it offered this week was the news that Brits bought 462,500 BDs in November, up 165 per cent from the 280,300 purchased in October and 251 per cent on July's 184,263 disc sales total.
Quoting market watcher GfK, the BDA said BD player sales are up 425 per cent between April and October, though it neglected to say how many units sold. A 425 per cent increase sounds good, but not if you only sold a handful of machines in the first place.
Incidentally, the numbers almost certainly don't include PlayStation 3 shipments, which would dwarf those of standalone players and thus mask such a large April-October increase.
The increase was the highest in Europe, the BDA said, quoting GfK, putting growth in UK BD player sales ahead of Germany (242 per cent), the Netherlands (197 per cent) and Italy (165 per cent).
These numbers, the organisation claimed, "contradict rumours of shortages of Blu-ray players in Europe and [of] diminishing consumer interest in the new home entertainment platform in the face of the economic downturn".
Maybe, but it's worth noting that these figures apply to a period before consumers really started to worry about the state of the economy. Conversely, they come before the inevitable big increase pre-Christmas sales activity, possibly to be boosted by the VAT reduction and plunging interest rates.
"We see the upwards sales trend increasing into the New Year and beyond," said BDA Europe boss Frank Simonis. "Blu-ray will enter the mainstream this quarter.”
Last month, market watcher Screen Digest said the recession would steer mainstream consumers away from BD player purchases, while early adopters, who are keen on buying into the format, will be hindered by shortages of cheaper machines.
Blu-ray Disc Players
"A bare BluRay drive at trade costs just £50 so manufacturers probably make them for £40 or less. Shove it in a consumer case with about £25 of electronics and it could be on the shelves of retailers for £99. So why are they being sold for double and tripple that price?"
Because the hardware necessary to take a 30Mb/s 1080p AVCHD video with DTS-HDMA audio stream, along with the secondary video and audio streams required to support Profile 1.1, decode them all and output them to the TV over HDMI with HDCP costs more than £25. That's why. I'd have thought that was fairly obvious, myself.
I was looking at Blu-ray media and was amazed media is stilling being sold for up to $25 Can for a single disk. I can buy DVD blanks for $10 for 50 pieces or $0.20 each. That works out to nearly 24GB/$1 for a 4.7 Gb DVD. At $25 or so per Blu-ray media disk and a capacity of the same 25 GB that works out to be just about 25x more expensive to store data.
This is progress?
I own a 26" 720p television and I can tell the difference between my dvd's and Blu-Rays (except for one anime I replaced, but one disc was more convenient than 2 and the dvd went to a friend who could care less).
I'll be buying an LCD 720p for the parents and give them my old blu-ray player. I'll also give them 'Planet Earth' ($67 at Wal-Mart even though I can't stand the place) because it's the type of thing blu-ray works well with. My little brother and sister will probably like it as well.
The biggest problem with blu-ray is the price. I'm willing to wait a few months before best buy runs what I want for $15/disc. I'm not hurting for cash, but I'm not letting myself be gouged either.
I can't see most people being able to tell the difference. My mom and her husband can't, but then, I do visit and like to watch something that doesn' bug me visually. That's why all their equipment is stuff I've bought. Saves them the hassle of buying garbage (because they listen to in-store staff too much) and then hooking it up (which isn't a problem until my mom moves the furniture and pulls all the cables without thinking).
My grandfather listens to mp3's only because I put 12 albums worth of music on a cd-r and he didn't have to learn anything new... just put in the disc and hit play. He was impressed by the amount of music though. Also impressed when I told him his old stereo was able to hook up the new equipment I brought over (like stereo outputs on new equipment don't exist).
It may eventually replace dvd, but I don't really care. As long as I can pick up a player to watch my current movies, I'll enjoy the better video.
Average Joe has no idea about Blu-Ray
Whilst most of us reading sites like The Reg will be the kind of people who keep up to date with technology, the vast majority of the public have no idea.
Just the other week, when I went round to a 40 year old friend's home for a DVD night, they said to me "I keep seeing these adverts for blue ray... what's blue ray?". They have no idea.
And I bet they haven't a clue about all the different audio formats, if they want to really experience TrueHD audio then they will also need to spend a few hundred on a new amplifier.
And what about all these different profiles of Blu-Ray players, got to make sure you have at least v1.3, if not 2.0.
Eh? No wonder they're happy to go out and buy a £30 DVD player.
Paris as most people will be as clueless as she is.
Re: Oh for goodness sake...
"The 'I can't see the difference' view: Only football? Rubbish! Try watching this clip from last Monday's Gadget Show:
That isn't that informative considering they tell you NOTHING about what player was used for the upscaling. Some players are better at it than others. Indeed some HDTV's upscalers are better at it. Toshiba even has a new upscaling system coming out that proclaims near HD quality from standard definition. Granted it will NOT be true HD but if it looks as good at a reasonable viewing distance then who cares.
They comparison is so bogged down in questions as to what equipment they used for the test that it fails in my eyes at least.