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bluechristmasWith all the doom and gloom surrounding DVD retail these days, it’s nice to get some good news every now and then. According to information recently released by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), Blu-ray disc sales rose 66.3% in the third quarter of this year and Blu-ray rentals are up 44.5%. The increase in Blu-ray disc sales contrasts with an overall 13.
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9% decline in packaged media sellthrough in the same time period compared to 2008. In addition, Blu-ray sellthrough is up 83% for the year to date.

High-definition discs now account for an average of 12% of packaged media sales for theatrical new releases, with a few titles such as X-men Origins: Wolverine and Watchmen reaching more than 30%. DEG chairman and president of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Bob Chapek said the following about such films’ allure to high-def fans:

“Titles that appeal to the early adopter demographic continue to perform increasingly well on Blu-ray, representing upwards of 20% of all physical media sales. . . As the penetration of Blu-ray increases, we are beginning to see the same kind of response by mainstream audiences that we are seeing in early adopters.”

Despite all the good news, time is running out for high-definition discs to achieve true mainstream acceptance. With ever-increasing bandwidth capabilities and consumer movie download alternatives, Blu-ray’s window of opportunity is fleeting. The format needs to achieve even more massive sales growth in the crucial fourth quarter if it’s to remain relevant.

According to research by consumer shopping site Retrevo, awareness and price remain two of Blu-ray’s biggest obstacles.  According to Venture Beat‘s analysis of Retrevo’s survey:

“About 49 percent of consumers say they’ve never seen a Blu-ray movie. Another 18 percent say they’ve seen one but were not very impressed.
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While younger consumers like Blu-ray, about 62 percent of seniors[*] believe that regular DVDs are all they need.”

Additionally, although Blu-ray player prices have dropped more than 35% in the past year, many players remain priced above $200. A generous portion (34%) of Retrevo’s respondents indicated that $150 is the most they would be willing to pay for a Blu-ray disc player.

As the holiday shopping season approaches, Insiders, will Blu-ray hardware and discs be on your lists? Let us know in the comments.

[via Venture Beat and Video Business]

*My grandparents were obviously not among the group consulted, as their twenty-year-old VCR is still defiantly flashing “12:00” and they believe DVD is a brand of men’s underwear.

13 Responses to “High-Def Discs Need a Blu Christmas in ’09”

  1. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    Christmas ‘09 at Blockbuster! It’s a party! Boobies!!!

    “A Schaumburg woman is suing Blockbuster for sexual harassment after an alleged series of events, including being asked by her boss to show him her breasts, which she did on two occasions, and then being passed up for a promotion and later fired.”

    Twice! Yee haa!

    According to the complaint… Perrier made numerous inappropriate comments such as “anytime you want three inches for three minutes…”

    It’s sad, but when you work at BB certain things start to shrink.

    Things like this can’t happen inside a Redbox machine!

    Help prevent sexual harassment! Support Redbox today!

  2. Visitor [Join Now]
    The [visitor]

    Redbox saves customers gas and takes over Chicago all at the same time!

    “There are 111 Redbox locations–some with multiple kiosks–in Chicago.” “Redbox plans to open about 30 more kiosks in the Chicagoland area by the end of the year”

    “There are four Hollywood Video locations in Chicago, according to the company’s Web site, down from 13 locations in April 2008, the phone book showed.”

    “Blockbuster announced last month it may close as many as 960 stores nationwide.” “There are currently 24 Blockbuster stores in Chicago and 69 in Cook County”

    Think of all the new jobs created because of the need for people to go into Walmart and purchase DVDs for Redbox! And all the people needed to keep the movies fresh and to maintain the machines!

    And the job is better, no dealing face to face with stupid customers, no more typing in people’s personal information and printing membership cards, no more customers asking to use the employee only bathroom in the back!

  3. Visitor [Join Now]
    Volcanicast [visitor]

    I personally see no need for Blu Ray. Maybe… MAYBE for the blockbuster movies with 200 million dollar budgets, but really I don’t think it’s necessary. Yes, I can tell the difference and yes, it looks better than regular DVDs. But 99 times out of 99 that difference is superficial at best.

    If they used the Blu-ray discs to their fullest and actually filled them with quality features – interviews and behind-the-scenes clips and documentaries abou the movie or subject matter – then Blu-rays would be worth the extra cost. But to see a couple extra pixels on Jennifer Anniston’s face while she makes some lame observation about men and women… no thanks.

  4. Member [Join Now]
    ChadCronin [chadcronin]

    I definitely see a difference. Most people are using cheap walmart uncalabrated tv’s without an HDMI cord, what do you expect to see in those cases? Why cling on to the past when we can all embrace Blu-ray for what it is, superior picture and sound to go with our tv upgrades. I just think this format came during a bad time for the economy, but I don’t think time is running out. If people need to be told what Blu-ray is, then they probably don’t purchase much, especially if they don’t even use DVD. Winning them over is not relevant because they aren’t the viewers of this product. I think enough people are aware now, it just comes down to pricing and affordability. This Holiday and the next will bring in alot of additional customers and a year from now we’ll be hearing about 50% of sales of a title is on Blu-ray for alot more titles. I just wish Redbox would start renting them everywhere!

  5. Visitor [Join Now]
    Carson [visitor]

    I was at Ultimate Electronics today watching Dead Man’s Chest in Blu Ray, and I think it must have been the first time I got a good look at BR on a larger screen. The quality was so good that it looked like the actors were on a cheap set with fake lighting. I felt like I was watching a play from the front row, everything looked so campy and fake, it totally ruined the movie. Maybe its something you have to get used to, but it definitely did not make me want to get it at all. I like the way my DVD movies look way better…

    • Member [Join Now]
      Shane Smith [shane9]

      Unfortunately, a fluorescently lit store is about as far from the ideal Blu-ray audition spot as possible. All the TVs have the brightness and contrast settings pegged to max to catch shoppers’ attention, which gives HD content the unreal “campy and fake” look you mention. The TVs are on demo “torch” mode and haven’t been properly calibrated.

      In my opinion, nothing compares to a well-transferred Blu-ray disc on a calibrated, high quality plasma in a darkened room. All my friends and family who have seen my setup agree with me: once you go Blu, it’s hard to go back. I’d encourage you to give Blu-ray another shot, in a proper setting. Your eyes will thank you, if not your wallet…

    • Visitor [Join Now]
      Sean [visitor]

      I agree. Sets and props look pretty fake when you see them in person. And if “picture quality so good you feel like you are right there” is blu-rays sale point, they lost me.

      But either way, if I have to re-stock my entire living room with expensive hardware just to see a more clear picture, it’s not worth it. DVDs are pretty damn clear themselves. Until it becomes practical price-wise, I am not considering going blu.

  6. Visitor [Join Now]
    mike [visitor]

    exactly. From what I’ve seen yes the Blu ray picture is better, but it’s not better enough in order for me to buy a new expensive tv and a bluray dvd player. It’s not like you’re making the jump from vhs to dvd. I just don’t think it’s worth what it’s priced right now.

  7. Member [Join Now] []

    I’m waiting for the HD and Blu ray wars to be over before I upgrade

  8. Visitor [Join Now]
    MarcD [visitor]

    I have a HDTV set and a Bluray player (their prices have dropped so much that you can get a good brand name now for $150 or less), but I mainly use it to upconvert my DVD library as the viewing quality is very close to a Bluray disc and I can purchase good used DVDs for a lot less. Plus the last I’ve heard there are well over 90,000 existing DVD titles compared to roughly 1,000 Bluray so you’ve got the point there. The Blu format still has a long way to go to compete with DVD even as it holds a slight advantage in picture and sound quality, but it’s no where near the difference between DVD and VHS as most people can tell!