Blu-ray ix-nay?

Nielsen's VideoScan service found Blu-ray's video disk market share dropped 13.4% the week of September 14.
Written by Robin Harris, Contributor

Nielsen's VideoScan service found Blu-ray's video disk market share dropped 13.4% the week of September 14. Is this the beginning of the end for Blu-ray?

No, the Blu-ray problem is fixable. The question is, will Sony have the guts to do what it must? Sadly, that seems unlikely.

Market share bingo Nielsen's VideoScan service gives weekly numbers that bounce around. A 13.4% weekly decline is noise. The long-term trend is the number to watch.

Annual market share growth Blu-ray will sell over 12 million disks so far in 2008, compared to 5.6 million all last year - over 100% growth. Sounds good except Blu-ray is still below 5% of all video disk sales.

What is clear is that Blu-ray has come nowhere near earlier predictions of a 50% market share in 2008. That's the trend that should worry the industry.

The consumer conundrum A good up converting player makes a DVD look a bit softer than a Blu-ray disc on a 40 inch high def display - nothing like the difference between a DVD and an old VHS tape.

I watched a DVD of Saving Private Ryan last night on a 10 foot screen with an HD projector and 5.1 sound - and it looked fabulous. So why would I lay out $25 to upgrade SPR to Blu-ray?

The Storage Bits take Blu-ray vendors need to understand that Blu-ray's advantage over DVD isn't as great as they thought it would be 5 years ago. DVDs were supposed to look terrible on HDTV - but thanks to good, cheap upconverting DVD players they look good.

I've bought some of my favorite movies in Blu-ray, like The Fifith Element and Hellboy - hey, there's Milla Jovovich's nipple! - and I can see the difference Blu-ray makes. The difference is modest, even on a 10 foot screen.

Blu-ray won the battle against HD DVD, but they look to be losing the war for the consumer. Current pricing is unrealistic. Blu-ray players need to break $100 instead of $300 with disk street prices below $20.

Blu-ray's modest quality advantage won't overcome the convenience of electronic delivery. If Hollywood wants to be selling DVDs in 5 years, they need to make Blu-ray an affordable standard.

Comments welcome, of course.

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