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*Sparky
23-06-2009, 09:13 PM
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Blu-Ray's Pyrrhic Victory
Jason Mick (Blog) - June 23, 2009 9:25 AM

A new survey indicates 93 percent of consumers don't plan on buying a Blu-Ray player. Will Blu-Ray go the way of Sony's Betamax -- another promising format -- or will it live on thanks to support from rental services like Blockbuster and the entry of sub-$200 players?

New format desperately tries to avoid slipping into obscurity

When asked about his hard-fought victories over the Romans in 279 BC and 280 BC, King Pyrrhus of Epirus famously remarked, "one more such victory would utterly undo (me)." Today, over a year after having dealt a death blow to its competitor HD-DVD, Blu-ray, Sony's proprietary high definition format, faces a similar Pyrrhic victory.

In the world of digital media being ubiquitous is the key to success. The most successful storage formats have found their way into the homes, cars, or offices of the majority of consumers. Whether its EP/LP records, cassette tapes, CDs, or DVDs at the height of each of these formats they could almost always be found in every household.

However, Blu-ray is not. During its sales battle against HD-DVD observers always overlooked the fact that while it outsold its competitor, its own sales were not very large. Now with the market to itself, Blu-ray is still struggling to avoid joining the likes of Laserdiscs and Betamax as the next fizzled format.

A recent Harris Interactive Poll showed that approximately 93 percent of consumers still don't have a dedicated Blu-ray player. In fact more Americans own a HD-DVD capable player (11 percent) than a Blu-ray capable player (7 percent), though Blu-Ray does benefit from the fact that 9 percent own a Blu-ray capable PS3. Their report also provides evidence that the attrition of the HD-DVD v. Blu-ray war continues to hurt sales. Customers reported confusion about the high definition formats.

While HD-TV ownership is up to 47 percent, up 35 percent from a year ago, most customers surprisingly report being content waiting for high definition cable, watching internet video, or up-converting DVDs for their HD fix. Writes Milton Ellis, Vice President and Senior Consultant, Harris Interactive Technology, Media, and Telecom Practice, "Blu-ray also faces competition from alternative technologies such as cable, satellite, and the Internet. Consumers today can easily watch high definition TV channels or use the Internet or video-on-demand to access high definition movies."

Speculates Mr. Ellis, "In the near future, access to high definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one’s favorite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray disc. One thing is for sure, the market will be highly competitive, and consumers will have a wide variety of choices for their entertainment experience."

Blu-ray is not without hope. Sony continues to push the format in its computers and in its Playstation 3 gaming console. Desktop and external Blu-ray R/W drives also should help further adoption. And some video rental services, such as Blockbuster have devoted small sections to the format. Lastly, the entry of sub-$200 players have helped sales to post some growth of late.

However, as Mr. Ellis points out, Blu-Ray stands at a crossroads three years after it hit the market in June 2006. It still has its backers and a small but very loyal market segment. However, the format is facing a do-or-die situation when it comes to proving its relevance with the average consumer. Otherwise, like many other enthusiast formats, it risks going the way of the dinosaur.

Pump it,

Moomalade
24-06-2009, 03:57 AM
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IFW
24-06-2009, 06:28 AM
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