Blu-meh: US HDTV owners aren't interested in new high definition disc players
A recently published NPD survey reveals that less than ten percent of US HDTV owners are planning on buying a Blu-ray disc player in the next six months.
A word of caution: the survey was carried out back in March and though this was on the back of the HD DVD demise, perceptions could have changed considerably in the meantime. Or not, of course.
The NPD figures reveal that just 9% of those that have already bought an HDTV intend on buying a BD player. Around 40 million US homes are now equipped with HDTVs, so that translates to a meagre 3.6m consumers planning on upgrading from DVD.
It also didn’t mention exactly how many of those surveyed already had a Blu-ray player, which could potentially make a difference, but whichever way you look at it, people aren’t about to jump ship from DVD en masse.
Their reasons for staying with the older tech are interesting too. Many say that they are still happy with DVD quality and that new DVD upscalers are keeping them competitive. Most concerning of all, 45% of those HDTV owners (some 22 million) hadn’t even heard of Blu-ray. It’s down from the 2007 results, but clearly the Blu-ray group is having trouble getting the message out.
I still believe that the major stumbling block is the price of discs. I’d happily challenge anyone to compare a Blu-ray disc with an upscaled DVD even on a shit HDTV and tell me they can’t see a difference. They’d also be equally welcome to challenge me to explain why that difference is worth is worth £10 or more (I think the difference is more like $15 in the US).
Until disc prices get a lot more competitive with DVD, then I think the majority of sales will continue to be with DVD, even among Blu-ray owners. Watching a brand new Hollywood action adventure on in glorious high definition is one thing, but when it comes to older films and TV series, again, the price difference just isn’t justified.
Nevertheless, those who have bought into the new disc format appear to be satisfied as Blu-ray is showing some reasonably encouraging sales figures.
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