Mon, Jan 12, 2009 - Page 11 News List

Blu-ray DVD booms in the aftermath of format war victory

AFP , LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

Blu-ray DVD hardware and disc sales have boomed despite the drubbing that tough economic times are giving the consumer electronics industry.

Blu-ray player technology is rife in new-generation TVs, computers and DVD players touted last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas where, a year earlier, it won a format war with HD DVD.

Blu-ray “adoption” surged last year while US sales of movie discs in the format more than quadrupled, with nearly 29 million bought in the final quarter of the year, industry statistics showed.

The latest Batman film, The Dark Knight, became the first title to sell more than 1 million discs in Blu-ray

“In one of the most difficult retail quarters in history, Blu-ray managed to grow significantly,” Blu-ray Disc Association president Andy Parsons said during a discussion with industry analysts at CES, which ended yesterday.

Parsons maintains that Blu-ray players are catching on faster than standard DVD players and compact disk music players did. Some 10.7 million Blu-ray players were in US homes or offices by the end of last year, Parsons said.

More than half of those players are in Sony PlayStation 3 videogame consoles, which can be used to watch films as well as play games.

Sony’s Blu-ray technology was declared victor in its battle with Toshiba-created HD DVD at CES last year after Hollywood powerhouse Warner Bros switched to the Blu-ray camp.

Toshiba subsequently abandoned production of HD DVD players.

Last year “was a critical year for the Blu-ray format,” said analyst Paul Erickson, director of DVD and HD Market Research at DisplaySearch.

“Not only is demand going to steadily increase but the industry’s ability to tap into that demand is going to increase as well,” he said.

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