Sony: Blu-ray player sales short of expectations

Sony still believes standalone Blu-ray players will be one of the most popular consumer electronics sold this holiday shopping season, but said sales will not reach earlier expectations.

Sony previously expected to sell 5 million units, with most of the number expected to be sold in the United States.  The format is about 10 percent off what Sony executives and others thought they would be able to manage this year, with the cost of Blu-ray movies also causing the format to struggle.

Another problem facing the Blu-ray camp is the expensive movie discs, which often cost $30 each.  Current Blu-ray player owners have been hesitant to expand their movie collection because Blu-ray movies cost $10+ more than regular DVDs they may already own.

Oddly enough, some executives in Hollywood said Blu-ray movie sales have been struggling due to high Blu-ray player prices — which have been steadily dropping — instead of focusing on the movies.

Even though the global economy crunch is one of the leading factors behind lowered expectations, Sony and other Blu-ray manufacturers could receive a late boost as consumers find cheaper deals for the high-definition players prior to Christmas.

Leading up to Christmas, it’s now possible to find entry level Blu-ray players for under $200, with higher-end models breaking the $300 barrier for the first time in the format’s short history.  Consumers patiently waiting to hop on the Blu-ray bandwagon should be able to find good standalone player deals on Black Friday — one week away — and during the entire month heading towards Christmas.

As more consumers begin to adopt digital streaming, the time window for Blu-ray to keep attracting new buyers may be shorter than originally expected, analysts have warned.