Blu-ray tanks in PCs

DVD-RW drives will continue to dominate through at least 2013, says iSuppli

Despite a rapid rise in the sale of consumer Blu-ray Disc players due to a drop in prices and an increase in high-definition movie content, Blu-ray players in PCs are not seeing any significant increase in sales, according to iSuppli Corp.

By 2013, Blu-ray players will be found in only 16.3% of PCs shipped, up from 3.6% this year, iSuppli said, meaning DVD players will continue to be the primary optical drive in PC systems through at least the year 2013, according to Michael Yang, senior analyst for storage and mobile memory at iSuppli.

They eventually will find success, but during the next five years, that success will be limited in the PC segment, Yang said.

The main stumbling block to adoption of Blu-ray in PCs is cost, Yang said.

"The cost issue is amplified by the fact that the library of content is so small that there really isn't a reason for users to switch at the moment," Yang said. And while this is changing and studios are rolling out more Blu-ray content every week, there remains a long way to go, he added.

Another factor is that Blu-ray is having a difficult time supplanting the incumbent storage medium in PCs -- the DVD-RW drive, Yang said.

"From a historical perspective, each of the successful storage media in PCs has gained popularity only when content became available and when consumers actually understood that what they were getting was easy to use and worth the cost," iSuppli stated in its report .

The once-ubiquitous 3.5-inch floppy drive had a lifespan of around 15 years, surviving well past its prime, the company stated. Eventually, it was replaced by CD-ROMs, which, in turn, gave way to DVD drives. A changeover occurred and the floppy disk was finally supplanted when it became apparent that CD-ROMs not only offered a distinct advantage but were also the medium being adopted for music, games and movies.

Such a pivotal moment, Yang said, has not yet arrived for the Blu-ray drive. Its undeniable that Blu-ray delivers a higher-definition picture, better sound quality and larger storage space for home entertainment, he said. However, these benefits may have little or no value when viewing the content on a smaller desktop or laptop PC screen and using poor speakers.

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Lucas Mearian

Computerworld (US)
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