Despite Blu-ray's victory over rival high-definition optical disc format HD-DVD, the technology still has a long way to go before it wins our hearts and minds according to current figures.
recently revealed figures from analysis organisation Niesen VideoScan showing the high-definition Blu-ray set to end the month on a tiny 8 percent share of the US home video market – a market still dominated by the lower resolution DVD optical medium.
With around 8.8 million Blu-ray discs sold so far this year – compared to just 5.6 million last year – the market isn't exactly ignoring
the technology, but neither is it rushing out to replace existing DVD content: a problem with a large percentage of Blu-ray releases are back-catalogue films that many consumers already own on a different format. Coupled with the still-high retail price – with Blu-Ray here in the UK hitting an RRP of around £5-£10 more than the DVD release – the market is clearly taking adoption of the new format slowly.
When the death of HD-DVD was officially announced, many in the industry saw the final hurdles removed from Blu-ray's path. Despite lack of competition in the high-definition marketplace, that's clearly not true: rightly or wrongly, many consumers have decided that the advantages over traditional DVD are not worth the premium – and certainly aren't as dramatic as the distinction between DVD and VHS.
Adoption in the computer industry is also slow. Although the Blu-ray medium is ideally suited for backup purposes – a CD-sized disc capable of storing 50GB is pretty darn handy when you've got a lot of data to shift – high prices for blank media are stifling demand, which in turn is excusing high prices by preventing mass production and the reduction in costs per unit that such a thing would bring.
Despite this, so long as download speeds in the UK continue to remain around the 8Mb/s level on average – and with ISPs still insistent on usage caps even on 'unlimited' packages – Blu-ray has no real competition in the high-definition arena.
Have you started purchasing your films on Blu-ray, or is plain old DVD – possibly coupled with a decent upscaling player – good enough for a while yet? Share your thoughts over in the forums