When Toshiba stopped making its HD-DVD players, the logical assumption was that consumers might finally start adopting a high-definition movie format, now that Blu-ray had been declared “the winner.” Turns out, consumers’ logic was more focused on their pocketbook than their desire for 1080p movies and DTS Lossless Master Audio.
According to a Harris Poll that surveyed 2,529 U.S. adults in mid-April, only four percent of consumers own a Blu-ray player, five percent own a PlayStation 3, and in fact, more people (six percent) still own an HD-DVD player and have plans to buy movies for it as long as they’re available.
Perhaps more concerning, at least from Sony’s and Blu-ray manufacturers’ perspective, is that only nine percent of consumers who don’t own a Blu-ray player indicated they were likely to purchase a Blu-ray Disc player within the next year — even when made aware that Blu-ray is now considered to be the definitive technology for high-definition DVD players going forward.
In addition, the Harris Poll found that although one-third of consumers report owning an HDTV, the percentage of HDTV owners likely to purchase a Blu-ray disc player is only 14 percent. What’s more, current ownership of Blu-ray Disc players among HDTV owners stands at 10 percent.
According to Joan Barten Kline, Vice President of the Harris Interactive Media & Entertainment Practice, “Since Blu-ray disc player pricing averages more than $300, which is well above the cost for the latest generation of standard DVD players with up-converters, Blu-ray disc players may be encountering price sensitivity despite the advanced technology.”
Interestingly, the survey found that the PlayStation 3 may continue to drive Blu-ray sales this fall, when Blu-ray Disc players begin shipping with Internet connectivity. According to the poll, 11 percent of U.S. adults are more likely to purchase a $399 PlayStation 3, which plays Blu-ray movies and has Internet access, or even a non-Web-enabled Blu-ray Disc player (10 percent), than they are to purchase a more-expensive Web-enabled Blu-ray player this fall (four percent).
Not surprisingly, the under-40 crowd is most likely to opt for the PlayStation 3 as their Blu-ray device of choice, with 23 percent of those in the 30-39 age group likely to purchase a PS3 in the next year.