The Dominance of Blu-Ray: A Non-Story of 2008

After Blu-ray won the format war against HD DVD some felt that Blu-ray would finally start to take off in sales. This is one expected story of 2008 which did not occur.  Engadget points out an article at Content Agenda on what Blu-ray needs to do.

As they point out, Blu-ray has a better picture, which most will notice, and better sound, which far fewer will appreciate, compared to conventional DVD’s. While it is an improvement, the improvement is incremental and does not represent the tremendous difference seen when we moved from VHS to DVD. Blu-ray also faces  competition from new technologies such as streaming video which were not a factor when DVD first developed its market share. Another problem faced by Blu-ray is that much of the programing is not available in high definition, limiting the material which is available which justifies the move to a different player.

The gap between conventional DVD and Blu-ray is even less now that upscaling DVD players are being sold for less than $100. Such players still do not have as good a picture as Blu-ray, but the gap is even less. Blu-ray looks better, but not enough for many people to pay the extra cost. The articles linked above recommend lowering the price of Blu-ray discs to that of DVD’s. While this would help to get people to make the conversion, lower  prices alone  would not solve the problem which led me to hold off on going to Blu-ray.

One issue which I have rarely seen mentioned, but which has led me to postpone the move to Blu-ray, is viewing in different rooms. If I am watching n my main media room with the fifty inch television I can certainly see a major difference and would prefer the higher definition of Blu-ray. However I also have smaller HD televisions in three other rooms and on those sets the difference over upscaled DVD is not as significant. If I buy Blu-ray discs then I lose the option to watch them in any of the other rooms, as well as on a lap top or other computer. For now, if I really want to see a movie in high definition I’ll watch it on HD cable instead of DVD.

Blu-ray players have come down in price enough where I’d be willing to buy one for the main media room, but I’m less eager to replace the DVD players in every other room. Some day all my computers might be replaced by newer models with Blu-ray players, but that is at least a few years off.

My suggestion, besides lowering the cost of Blu-ray movies, would be to bundle a conventional DVD with a Blu-ray disc. This way I could still watch the movie in any room I choose, regardless of which type of player is present. The material costs for a DVD are very inexpensive. If they are concerned that the extra DVD will be given away or sold to others, reducing potential sales, another possibility is to have a single disc with each format present. Actually I recently heard that this is being developed but it will only help if the release of combo discs becomes a wide spread practice rather than being limited to certain shows, and if the price is not much more than buying a DVD.

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