Blu-ray DVDs are the new standard in High Definition television.  I have the Sony S550 Blu-ray player, and when I use an HDMI cable to hook it up to my Sony Bravia HDTV, the True Cinema, 1080p is breathtaking.  The images are “realer than real” because my eye cannot pick out that sort of “up-close” definition on its own.


If you aren’t familiar with the Blu-ray phenomenon, here are some hard numbers:

Consumers bought about 147,000 Blu-ray players in the week leading up to the Thanksgiving holiday (not including PS3s). The average price of the Blu-ray players sold was a bit over $200, almost exactly half of the average price of the players from a year ago. So it definitely paid to wait out the Blu-ray-HD DVD format war that was going on at this time last year.

But the most revealing stat is this one: 85% of all the Blu-ray players sold were from Sony and Samsung, both of which finally gave in and offered quality players at low prices ranging from $180 to $200. The majority of the players they sold were the cheap ones.

Blu-ray player sales will go up to 5.31 million in 2009, from about 700,000 in 2007. That’s a huge jump that will only be facilitated by the only fact that really matters: format adoption is a reflection of the price, and the bigger the drops by big-name companies, the closer we get to the burial of the DVD.

Leading the Blu-ray holiday surge is that awful Dark Knight movie:

This week, we’ll have a great test of these competing theories with the release of The Dark Knight, the second highest-grossing domestic movie of all time, and definitely the most badass. The video was released in Blu-ray and DVD formats less than 24 hours ago, and it is already setting records. Taking into account all purchases from the U.S., Canada and the U.K., about 3 million copies of The Dark Knight have already been sold.

Warner Brothers is anticipating the movie will reach total sales of 13.5 million worldwide by the end of the first week. For the first day, Blu-ray disks account for 600,000 of the total, or a bit less than 21%. The rest are all DVD purchases, which brings up the issue we mentioned only yesterday when talking about the slow adoption of the Blu-ray format: DVD’s are still pretty good! And for most, that’s good enough to avoid paying a few extra bucks for Blu.

There’s another interesting note from the first day of sales: According to the studio, the digital copy included on the Blu-ray and Special Edition DVD has already been activated 300,000 times, which gives us a good idea of how many users are going to push their movie to their portable media players.

I like having a “digital copy” of my Blu-ray movies. I am more likely to buy a Blu-ray DVD is there is the digital option I can use so I can watch the movies on my iPhone and computer.

Are you doing Blu-ray yet? If not, what’s stopping you? If yes, when, and why, did you make the jump?

7 Comments

  1. Nicola!
    Yes, you should be jealous. Heh. HD and Blu-ray are super high quality. We can now see things we never knew were there on faces and hands and other body parts.
    Janna tires of me always pausing the television comedies shot on a sound studio so I can show her in HDTV how you can see how cold they are while acting because their hands are red — the skin color doesn’t match the makeup on their face. Splotchy redness on knuckles and numbing blue on fingers is a dead giveaway that the actor has poor circulation in a freezing TV studio.
    Is there a big Blu-ray push in the UK right now? We can’t get away from it here on TV and in the stores.

  2. the only reason i have a BluRay player is because i own a PS3…
    And my library of movies is some 200 dvd’s…
    i can’t imagine replacing all of them to bluray…?
    But Dark Knight… wow… there is a movie that would have made me buy a BluRay player… in-fact that is one of the 3 movies i have on bluray… the other 2 are Spiderman and Planet Earth… he he he…

  3. stupidbrzo —
    You can play regular DVDs on a Blu-ray DVD player. In fact, a regular DVD will look even better played on a Blu-ray DVD than on an ordinary DVD player.
    The PS3 does so many things right — including Blu-ray — I wonder why it isn’t doing better in the marketplace?

  4. Blu-ray is the new wave, Nicola. Soon, you won’t be able to buy anything but Blu-ray because the DRM — the anti-piracy code — can be updated on the fly to thwart content theft. There’s a new “doubled sided” DVD coming soon: One side is a regular DVD and the other side is a Blu-ray DVD, so you can sell one DVD and cover both markets instead of having to sell two different versions. It’s a good technological bridge.