Blu-ray still facing serious adoption troubles

By Justin Mann on June 22, 2009, 3:46 PM
Sony, and no doubt the investors and backers of Blu-ray, are well aware of the adoption woes that the technology is currently facing. A victory over HD DVD is hollow if it means nothing but lackluster sales in the face of customers still overwhelmingly favoring the older DVD. This is something Sony has been concerned about for some time, and while they have recently sought to reorganize and find a new way to make Blu-ray attractive, the truth is that Blu-ray is simply not performing as well as they'd hoped.

Depending on your frame of reference, this can actually be surprising news. Blu-ray is a format intended to be coupled with high-definition televisions, so it's easy to assume that sales of HD-capable TVs and Blu-ray players would go hand in hand. That just isn't the case HDTV sales are on the rise, with a huge increase in market share over the past year in the U.S. (from an estimated 35% to 42%). Standalone Blu-ray players, on the other hand, are only in an estimated 7% of U.S. homes and PlayStation 3 consoles in about 9%. Why the difference? It's assumed that the increasing availability of hi-def content from cable and satellite providers plays a part, with people buying HDTV units for high-def TV content as opposed to movies.

Despite Sony winning a technical victory with Blu-ray, their adoption issues are still dismal. Many claim they are waiting for Blu-ray format prices to come down before taking to plunge, but players have already dropped below $200 in many areas and dip even lower on occasion. So what's stopping Sony from convincing the world it needs Blu-ray?




User Comments: 39

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polidiotic said:

Is it really that surprising that Blu-Ray players haven't been selling in vast majorities? First, those who could afford Blu-Ray or HD-DVD, purchased 1st/2nd gen players. Those who had HD-DVD got screwed over pretty hard at a pretty quick pace. I'd be bitter, too.

Then, Sony and other Blu-Ray developers kept their prices at $300-500 ranges for the next several gen. products. It wasn't until recently that players have dipped below $200, and the majority of those players are off-brand.

In this market, where people need to be thrifty, they can't afford to just jump at the next big technology with a 1st gen asking price. You can buy a 40" LCD 1080p television (mainstream brand) for about $700-800. Asking $300-500 for a player just seems silly in contrast. I know it took years to get LCD/Plasma down to those prices, but people are watching their wallets now... and most people just can't justify handing over that kind of money for something that isn't going to make much of a difference with their run-of-the-mill home theater experience. Now $150-250? That's a different story... but those prices are just now coming into the fold.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

The pricing is still the problem. As polidiotic mentioned, the prices were in the $500 range and just recently dropped below $200 - and on rare occasion at that. On the other hand, you can buy a VHS/DVD player for $50.

There is also the lack of media for a Blu-Ray player. Six months ago, if you went to Blockbuster or Best Buy to rent or buy a Blu-Ray video, the available titles fit on one 4-foot wide rack. Who the hell is going to pay $500 for a player, and triple the media price over a DVD when Blu-Ray titles comprise less 2% of all media releases?

Just like the PS3, Sony has stumbled and bumbled their way through their Blu-Ray promotions and marketing making it one of the most unattractive high-tech purchases around.

Guest said:

In my humble opinion, the 'victory' of blu ray over hd dvd extinguished any chance of having a widely disseminated successor to the classic dvd format. I learned that blu ray technology was superior and personally preferred it, even though it required an increased investment in the existing production infrastructures. I did not guess that it would not became an instant success because of political reasons...

KingDingDong said:

i dont mind shellin gout 200 for a player if the stupied new release moves wernt 30-35 bucks a pop. that is retarded. once they get below 20 (like a nomral dvd) i will buy a player.

polidiotic said:

kingdingdong said:

i dont mind shellin gout 200 for a player if the stupied new release moves wernt 30-35 bucks a pop. that is retarded. once they get below 20 (like a nomral dvd) i will buy a player.

Makes sense to me.

Guest said:

Could it possibly be that "less than $200" IS the problem? When DVD players are selling for $50, only people with lots of disposable cash will buy BR.

S0faK1ngDead said:

I own a BR Player but still do not own a BR disk. It not worth it to me to pay an extra 10 to 15 bucks to get a movie in BR. I rent movies all the time in BR because there is little to no difference in cost. If it was the same to own I would be buying BR instead

Guest said:

BluRay has two insurmountable problems:

1) Embedded DRM (AACS, etc.) - that nobody with an IQ above 90 will touch (unless they are masochists)

2) HDCP/HDMI - which just doesn't reliably work, and has a new connector design every 18 months.

No thanks.

Guest said:

The people who buy $50 DVD players probably won't see any difference going to a $200 Blu-ray player because all the players getting to that price point and the equipment it's likely plugged into will be of poor quality anyway. Clearly there's a market for people who'll buy anything blindly because it's cheap and they would be oblivious to better picture and sound quality. Hence, spending more money for basically what will be the same product to them is hardly justified.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

People I know either own a PS3 or own upscaling DVD players which do an extremely good job improving the quality of DVDs. I havent watched an upscaled DVD on a big telly and thought "That picture is crap".

Also the price of second hand DVDs is through the floor. I usually go through the pre-owned bin at Blockbusters and find 5 cool DVDs for £10. That is roughly $14?

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

A Blu-Ray player and disc need a good-enough HDTV for the complete experience. If you don't have an HDTV, don't buy a Blu-Ray player. IMO it's as simple as that.

jimsing59 jimsing59 said:

The reason that Blu-Ray is not taking off is that saving HD video to a hard drive is the much better way to go. Disc oxidize in 5 years and quality is lost.

Guest said:

Like guest further up said. The DRM and HDCP implementation is the issue. The quality may be awesome, but the hardware and software that powers it is third rate. The second is of course as mentioned, the cost of the Blu-Ray's themselves. New releases that come out near $50 (Australian) is a joke. It costs less than that for three or four people to go to the cinema's.

Cut the copyright protection, scrap the regional coding and the price to produce will naturally be cheaper.

Either that or bring back HD-DVD........

Guest said:

Blue ray player is a one time investment. The main problem is the price of the blue ray disk. Here in india a xbox 360 pro and a ps3 80 gb both costs 24K rupees. But a xbox 360 game costs 1900 and a ps3 game costs 2500. Thats a gap of 12 to 15 us dollers. So xbox 360 is more populer. A movie dvd goes for 100, but blue ray would have costed 600. So they dont even release hd titles here.

yukka, TechSpot Paladin, said:

oh lol i forgot i got a blue ray drive in my dell studio xps desktop kind of forgot i owned it since i dont have any blue ray disks.. have borrowed a couple tho. they look good but not light years away from dvds upscaled with my 360 (26inch hd telly here so larger would make a difference).

Blueray - so cool i forgot i had it..

tengeta tengeta said:

I think winning the format war may be the worst nightmare for Blu-Ray. All Blu-Ray got from winning that was the fact they get to stay of shelves longer, it doesn't mean its going to see success and it doesn't mean its a good format.

OUTLAWXXX said:

I was saying the same exact thing Tengeta, I personally stream my movies onto my HDTV w/ netflix and xbox 360, I'm absolutely sick of my discs becoming scratched and giving me problems. I just can't wait till all games and movies are downloaded or streamed... Much easier to store a digital library, especially when you can log back on and redownload it if something like a hard drive crash happened.

Once your disc gets scratched... It takes all kinds of effort and trouble and even money if you wanna go that route to get those DVD's fixed... It would also bring the prices down for movies if they didn't have to package them, but I'm not even a big movie guy anyways, that's why I'm fine streaming movies that have been out for a while.

Aolish Aolish said:

I still use the big clunky 4:3 tvs lol... so no point in getting a blu-ray if i got that. HDTVs are still waaayyy to expensive for me to invest into with my tight budget. It'll more then likely be awhile till I even invest in an hdtv, let alone a blu-ray player.

LinkedKube LinkedKube, TechSpot Project Baby, said:

I'm not going to pay 200 usd for a sylvannia blueray player, you gotta be kidding me.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Guest said:

BluRay has two insurmountable problems:

1) Embedded DRM (AACS, etc.) - that nobody with an IQ above 90 will touch (unless they are masochists)

Seen the AVS thread about getting blu-ray to work on PowerDVD? It *is* voluntary torture. I can't believe the crap they have to go thru to get their own legit content to work!

Guest said:

India is a v big and sensitive market. Still players like sony try to sell their products at double the cost here. Bluray dvd players here sell anywhere btw 25,000 to 50,000 ( $500-1000$). Now who will go and buy blu-day player here when everyone knows it sells below $200 abroad? When you know everyday the technology changes who will risk of buying an expensive item and then it getting obsolete. We are not rich enuf to keep on buying and trying new and different things here. Pricing is the most major factor in driving sales. So if Sony keeps the price right they will notice double the sales of disc and players. One disc of blu-ray costs around 1500bucks i.e. $30 and it is just blank media. Movie disc wud cost more. Since there are not much titles in blu ray format who will risk of buying a media player and then face the consequence of upgrading it in the future.

My genuine advise to sony is to increase the production of blank blu-ray dics to 10times and bring the price to 1/10 th. Then the sales will speak for themself

today hd content is everywhere.. so i believe blu-ray has v bright future and they can take over the market. And if they believe they can be king by charging premium then they r wrong. No one is going to take a loan to buy those stupid gadgets just for ENTERTAINMENT purpose. I would rather buy blu-ray playable computer instead.

Guest said:

One other thing i saw when i bought my hdtv was that there are media players which you connect your hard drive to them and they can play all kinds of video formats.So instead of giving 200$ for a low quality br player you could give 80$.Of course this means that you have to have a blue ray player in your pc to copy the movies,if you want all of your movies to be legitimate.

Hawksters said:

I also agree with the other posters on this board about many of the problems of blue ray.

The discs are still quite expensive here in Canada $35-$55 depending on the movie.

The connection issue is still quite disturbing especially if you buy a new hi-def tv and it does not support your players particular type of cable. This could be a very expensive problem.

You just don't see this with the older tv and dvd systems that used either RCA, S-Video,or Component connections,they work good,have been around along time ,and so are familiar to most people. If you have an CRT set that you plan on using your not going to see a big defference.

Another point is that if you have a large dvd collection like some of my friends that are well over 1200 discs, you may not feel the urge to switch formats early especially if it is going to cost more for a movie and you may have payed a hefty price already for a high end dvd player. I still have my Sony DVD player I bought in 2000 for $700. I know other people with far more expensive units who don't intend on giving them up any time soon.

Something else to consider if you are a collector of movies and special features is that many of the blue-ray discs are being released with bare minimum extras as oposed to their

2 discs dvd cousins, which can have hours of extra content for less money. If you look around you can find many examples of this. I believe one such example is the 1982 version of the Thing,I think it only has the commentary track and one trivia feature. The special edition dvd has at least a 2 hour featurett. If you are a collector of movies this would deffinitely be something to consider.

If you have a high-end up-converting 1080p dvd player joined with a good Plasma , LCD, or LED display that can be properly adjusted, you may end up not seeing much of a difference in picture quality, especially with some of the older movies .

Also, who is to say another format could come along to challenge blue-ray in the next couple years that could be double it's quality.It sounds rediculous but it has happend before , and I find alot of people in this economic slump are worried about things like this and are not ready to shell out alot of money when there is this much uncertainty about the future.

Just something to ponder.

Badfinger said:

DVD is just good enough for a lot of us, and Blue-Ray movies new are too expensive, and I've often read reviews complaining about the picture quality on older movies. (not improved much and sometimes worse because of the higher resolutions)

You can't sell me on extras, never been worth added cost to me, ever.

Guest said:

i think its the cost of the actually Blu-Ray movies themselves Companys are charging £25 pounds per disc in the UK, Why?

Guest said:

I've just gone through the process of upgrading my kit, new amp and Blu-ray player. All connected via HDMI and I've had no problems at all. The upgrade has worked well for me and brought new life to my old DVD collection (admittedly I have spend a fair amount of money on my purchases).

The main problem from now is the price of the disks. Blu-ray looks and sounds great and my kit can take full advantage of the new surround formats etc but the price differential to go from DVD to Blu-ray is too much. DVD is still a fantastic format.

fastvince said:

I only use Blu-Ray disks to store data. You can get 50GB of data on a Dual Layer Blu-Ray disk.

For movies, just like some other posters, the price difference between dvd\br is not worth the small increase in picture quality.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

And if they believe they can be king by charging premium then they r wrong. No one is going to take a loan to buy those stupid gadgets just for ENTERTAINMENT purpose.

And yet, this is exactly what you will find with all Sony products. They overcharge because they know there are sheep out there who will buy their higher-priced products without thinking because they know they're getting "quality items".

It is also the reason VAIO notebooks are among the worst when it comes to reliability. Ditto for their other stuff like the PS3.

oinari said:

OUTLAWXXX said:

I just can't wait till all games and movies are downloaded or streamed... Much easier to store a digital library, especially when you can log back on and redownload it if something like a hard drive crash happened.

Quite right. Why spend $700+ for a HDTV, $200+ for a Blu-ray player and then $30 or per disk, when you can just buy a 2 TB drive nowadays for $100-$200? Sony hasn't figured out that the consumer is the stiffest competition now. People are smarter, less frugal and more educated technologically.

I do, in fact, own a Blu-ray player, 40" HDTV and a small growing library of movies. However, I am very selective with the movies I purchase due to prices. My wife and I spend way more time watching digital channels on that TV than watching movies. The majority of the movies we do watch are via my PC, which also has a Blu-ray drive that is hardly ever used.

I believe the only true victory Sony is swallowed up in was the opportunity to monopolize the next gen format market, justifying the high prices, and it's biting them in the ass. Blu-ray, in my opinion, is a better format, but so was laser disc.

JDoors JDoors said:

Just how many issues have been brought up here? Can ANY consumer electronic device defeat those odds?

When DVDs were introduced it didn't matter WHAT you watched them on, the product was CLEARLY superior in EVERY way, even down to how much shelf space they required (compared to VHS tape). With BR the difference is "clearly" apparent only if you have a particular type of TV (what's the market penetration of HD-TV?), at the correct combination of size and viewing distance (too small or too far and the difference is negligable).

Plenty of people have brought up the issue of BR player and content prices, what about the cost of upgrading your entire TV and music system to be able to enjoy BR's advantage to the fullest extent possible? Now we're not talking about a hundred dollars too much for a player, or ten dollars too much for a disk, many people would have to invest thousands of dollars to get a TV, sound system and an Internet hookup (with its continuing costs) to fully enjoy BR's technology. Then there's all the complexity in properly setting up such a system, and not only in hooking it up in its original configuration, but also with continually changing standards ... AND in this financial situation?

It'll be an uphill battle for some time to come.

gguerra said:

I just bought a Samsung BDP-1500 and it plays BD discs beautifully. I dont have 1080p yet only 1080i. The problem I have and other people have with a lot of different Bluray players is that they are buggy and constantly need firmware updates to play newer titles. This include Sony, Panasonic, LG etc. My problem with the samsung is I'm having problems playing my own authored AVCHD discs which are used by many camcorders and are supposed to be playable. I paid $159 for a refurb unit at compusa and am still fiddling with it. I may just return and pay to 15% restocking fee. I just ordered a WD media player for $99 which together with an external hard drive will play almost anything digital including MKV 1080p files.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Darth Shiv said:

Guest said:

BluRay has two insurmountable problems:

1) Embedded DRM (AACS, etc.) - that nobody with an IQ above 90 will touch (unless they are masochists)

Seen the AVS thread about getting blu-ray to work on PowerDVD? It *is* voluntary torture. I can't believe the crap they have to go thru to get their own legit content to work!

OMG! I rented a movie last year and found out after I tried to play it on my TV that I rented a Blu-Ray disk. So I thought I'd play it on my 22" small screen and plopped it into my PC BD drive and loaded up the OEM copy of PowerDVD Ultra 7.3 that came with it. I put my feet up, ready for a movie, and all of a sudden I got a big red screen that told me to upgrade the firmware. What a pain in the butt!!! Power DVD directed me to the latest version, for just $99 US dollars I could upgrade and watch my movie...

Well it took me about a day, and several e-mails back and fourth, but I finally got the update for my player and I was able to watch my rental. I probably put in $150 dollars worth of my time and effort trying to fix this issue. And it seriously ruined the Blu-Ray Experience. Now I'm staying away from Blu-Ray since they can make my player obsolete any time they like.

Guest said:

Bluray is struggling for two reasons in my opinion:

1) Its not the cost of the player its the cost of the discs. Here in the UK the average new DVD is what £9.99? The average bluray - maybe £18.99? Most people are simply unwilling to pay £8-9 extra per disk.

2) Services such as SkyHD and online downloads (of the legal variety) make the case for Bluray a little redundant. The quality may not be as good but the variety of programming more than makes up for it.

Richy2k9 said:

Hello ..

That's wierd ..

I've seen cheaper Blu-rays than DVDs on some sites ....

I think it's just people tends to wait and see or like said in the article .. it's mostly for HD TV content than movies yet the quality is different.

Most HD TVs are lightly below 1080p/i or at 720p ...

The price of BD-Rs also makes a difference....

It's sorry to see that people would buy into Blu-ray players when cheap Blu-ray burners & media would be available on the PC for them to steal people's hard work !!!

Well that can be a great strategy for some manufacturers !!!

Pay for quality .. no one will regret!

I'm ordering some blu-rays btw ...

Cheers !!!

Twister123 Twister123 said:

blue ray is great for the movie and game industry because it hasn't been hacked yet ! and there not losing millions,

Guest said:

I myself own 2-hd-dvd players the xbox 360 hd-dvd player an a Blu-ray player/burner for my pc.

I do not buy blu-ray dics at all(rent only).I had a stand -alone that I sold 2 weeks ago for $100 usd for the simple reason that I was able to buy my blu-ray burner for my pc for $69 usd and it has better features.My pc is also hooked up to all 3 of my hdtv's and I send content to them all at once or independently.With my subcription to Dish Network HD programming and HD digital downloads I see no reason to buy blu-ray.Plus I see Hd-dvd as the better investment.I paid just $50 for the 2 hd-dvd stand-alone player and $30 for the xbox 360 hd-dvd drive.They all upscale to 1080p,were all cheaper than a blu-ray player or a dvd upconverter and HD-Dvd and DVD movies are dirt cheap(I got Transformers 1 Hd-DVD for a $1.99 brand new at inetvideo.com same movie in blu-ray is $24.99)And With a netflix and blockbuster account(8.99 a month) I get about 8-10 blu-ray movies per month.With the blu-burner in my pc I can backup any of these that are worth keeping.So for me there is no reason at all to buy blu-ray disc let alone a stand-alone player.With the downloads, streaming,rentals,and satellite tv I have more HD content than I know what to do with.My advices get a cheap HD-DVD player of ebay or buy a dvd upconverter that supports divx ,mp4 and DTS(Wal-Mart has A upconverter thats supports those formats for $59usd)If you have the money and a decent pc get a blu-ray drive for your pc off of ebay $69-$135usd and a $50 dollar video card that supports hdmi, then you can download, rent and stream HD content.

Guest said:

I don't think the root problem is price (although that certainly exacerbates it), we had the same situation with DVD over VHS - prices for VHS titles hit rock bottom, while DVDs and DVD players were both fairly expensive, however there were convincing reasons for the average consumer to go out and upgrade to DVD, such as bonus content, no more rewinding tapes, etc. With Blu-Ray, there is essentially nothing, other than a higher resolution, and frankly the majority of people simply don't care about or don't even notice that.

The audio industry hit the same wall when it came to CDs and DVD-Audio. These are pretty much the last physical formats before everything turns to downloads.

gguerra said:

With Blu-Ray, there is essentially nothing, other than a higher resolution, and frankly the majority of people simply don't care about or don't even notice that.

I disagree. Do you think people would not notice the difference between standard definition and high definition. The difference is simply amazing and NOT unoticable. Not to mention the sound, it is also like night and day, DTS-HD and the like are incredible (if you have the right equipment) . As far as not caring, some do some dont. As for me, once I went hi-def I didn't want to go back.

Rage_3K_Moiz Rage_3K_Moiz, Sith Lord, said:

blue ray is great for the movie and game industry because it hasn't been hacked yet ! and there not losing millions,

That is something the RIAA\MPAA have drilled into the ears of every impressionable consumer who doesn't know otherwise. Piracy does NOT affect game sales as much as you think it does, since the vast majority of people who pirate a game are not going to buy it in the first place, even if the game is pretty cheap.

Also, copyright infringement =\= stealing. A copyright just grants monopoly status to the copyright holder so they can control and profit from their work. A copyright infringement simply infringes upon said monopoly status. If the monopoly status expires within a certain time, then sure, it's pretty acceptable, since the work eventually goes into the public domain. But if it drags on and on (an infinite copyright, if you will), it starts to impede progress, since by definition, a monopoly is a no-win economic situation.

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