A new report indicates Blu-ray penetration in U.S. households reached a new high after topping 17 percent in July. The new figure is roughly double the penetration rate calculated by analysts in 2008, with the number expected to climb further.
Since eliminating HD DVD and becoming the single high-definition physical media format for consumers, Blu-ray has undergone a steep uphill battle.
No one knows how much higher Blu-ray adoption can go, but one key to the format’s higher penetration is branching out and not relying on the Sony PlayStation 3 as much. Luckily, manufacturers are up to the task and have released a plethora of Blu-ray Disc players.
A separate report compiled by Futuresource Consulting found that global standalone Blu-ray player sales will reach 24 million units by the end of the year. Q4 saw the largest sales period, with an impressive 11 million units sold as sales are expected to increase.
Also of note, around 10% of Blu-ray players sold in 2010 include 3D support, as 3D Blu-ray and 3D HDTV adoption is slowly growing.
Blu-ray supporters still have numerous problems they must overcome if the HD format will truly replace DVDs. Blu-ray remains relatively unpopular in European markets with the exception of the German market which has seen drastic sales increases. Consumers in the UK, France and other countries have been hesitant to adopt the format.
Streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu continue to claw their way into the living room, with consumers enjoying a larger content catalog available to them at any time, a viable alternative to investing in a new high definition format.
Microsoft, which didn’t include Blu-ray in its Xbox 360 game console, recently said it still believes streaming content will surpass Blu-ray while the company shrugs the technology away.
Despite lack of support from Microsoft, Apple and some others, I think Blu-ray still has a chance to see long-term success. I also tend to believe streaming content will be the dominant format of choice, but think Blu-ray player and movie sales could increase further. Bundling Blu-ray players with HDTVs and free movies with standalone Blu-ray purchases could help woo consumers that are going to be spending money cautiously this Christmas.