Why doesn't anyone want a Blu-ray Player?

US adoption of Sony's Blu-ray format remains slow

While Blu-ray holds plenty of appeal for AV enthusiasts, mainstream consumers remain hesitant to adopt.

While Blu-ray holds plenty of appeal for AV enthusiasts, mainstream consumers remain hesitant to adopt.

Blu-ray may have won the war against HD-DVD, but American consumers aren't exactly warming to the high-definition disc format.

According to a new Harris Poll, more U.S. homes have a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player compared to a year ago, but adoption is slow. Only 7 percent of Americans own a Blu-ray player, up from 4 percent in 2008; while 11 percent have an HD-DVD unit, up from 6 percent a year ago.

We suspect that HD-DVD's higher popularity is due to the fact that HD-DVD players were cheaper than their Blu-ray competitors, and hence were more appealing to early adopters. Plus, the format's discontinuation saw prices plummet dramatically, leading to a spike in bargain-basement sales. Of course, now that HD-DVD has gone the way of Betamax, it's certain to fade away quickly.

The popularity of high-def physical media gets a boost if you factor in the 9 percent of U.S. consumers who own a Sony PlayStation 3, which plays Blu-ray discs too. Still, consumers' lack of interest in Blu-ray is bad news for proponents of the HD disc format. Only 7 percent of survey respondents who don't own a Blu-ray player say they're likely to buy a Blu-ray unit within the next year, down from 9 percent in May 2008.

HDTV Yes, Blu-ray No

Nearly half of U.S. consumers now own a high-definition TV, according to the Harris poll. Add that to the fact that prices of both Blu-ray players and Blu-ray discs are falling rapidly, and consumer indifference to HD players is a telling sign.

The online poll by Harris Interactive surveyed 2,401 U.S. adults between April 13 and 21, 2009. A statement by Harris Interactive vice president and senior consultant Milton Ellis nicely sums up the challenges facing Blu-ray:

"Blu-ray also faces competition from alternative technologies such as cable, satellite, and the Internet. Consumers today can easily watch high definition TV channels or use the Internet or video-on-demand to access high definition movies. In the near future, access to high definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one's favorite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray disc."

Bingo. Home theater buffs and early adopters may take to Blu-ray, but most consumers will likely bypass HD discs altogether and advance directly to movie streaming and download services.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?