It has been three months since HD-DVD lost its contest with Blu-ray, and the market has absorbed the consequent impacts while remaining open to changes. To clear inventory, HD-DVD and universal players are selling at deep discounts, HD-DVD and universal drives will no longer ship after 2008, and Best Buy has removed HD-DVDs from its shelves to make room for more standard Blu-ray movies and DVDs.
But in spite of all this, say analysts, the Blu-ray format and market must undergo further evolution before it can truly capitalize on its one-time competitor’s downfall.
t will be 12 to 18 months before the Blu-ray market kicks into gear, say analysts from ABI Research. Consumer electronics manufacturers need to introduce full-featured players, then get prices down to the $200 level. Until then, say representatives from ABI, non-HDTV owners will favor standard-definition DVD players.
In addition, ABI believes the depressed economy in the United States could lead HDTV and prospective HDTV owners to opt for upconverting standard-definition DVD players as they delay buying more-expensive electronics. This could also have an effect on Blu-ray movies, which are generally more expensive than standard DVDs. Certain studios have brought prices down to the low $20-range for some Blu-ray titles.
“Blu-ray Disc player prices remain high, and supplies are limited,” said ABI Research principal analyst Steve Wilson. “This is good for the market, because most current players do not support all the functions that studios place on the discs. Lacking support for — or upgradability to — BD Live! or Bonus View (picture in picture), consumers cannot utilize all the available options. Manufacturers would rather sell more fully-featured models.”
ABI estimates that in 2008, PlayStation 3s will make up more than 85 percent of all Blu-ray players in the market, and PS3 sales are picking up steam. ABI Research predicts that this trend of the PS3 leading the BD pack will continue until 2013, when the installed base of stand-alone Blu-ray players and PC-based Blu-ray players finally overtakes the installed base of the PS3.