Blu-ray sales have dropped massively since Sony killed HD DVD

May 1, 2008

Blu-ray sales have dropped massively since Sony killed HD DVDWhen Sony’s Blu-ray format killed off Toshiba’s HD DVD format in the the high definition DVD war in February, it was expected that Blu-ray players would see a massive sales increase, as consumers realised the format was a safe long-term bet. However, sales figures show that since the beginning of the year, sales of Blu-ray players have actually dropped quite substantially.

As soon as HD DVD was declared a dead format, Sony went full steam ahead with it’s plans to dominate the future of high definition storage, and predicted a 50% market share with DVD by the end of 2008. However, the NPD Group’s sales figures show that they are a long way off achieving that goal any time soon.

NPD haven’t released actual numbers, presumably for fear hat due to the low numbers of units sold, individual retailers would be identifiable. However, according to the New York Times, it has stated that sales of standalone Blu-ray players fell a massive 40% from January to February. They then rose a paltry 2% from February to March.

HD DVD players obviously did even worse in the same time frame, with sales dropping 13% from January to February, and 65% from February to March, but that was fully expected as only an idiot would buy a player which only plays a dead format.

So why has Blu-ray failed to sell in the expected quantities once it’s only rival, excluding the doomed HD VMD of course, HD DVD was consigned to an early grave?

The main reason is likely to be that the mainstream consumer is still not ready to move on from DVD, and is happy with the picture quality and storage capabilities of the last gen format. I predicted back in February that Blu-ray would have a hard job killing off DVD, and by the time it does, digital downloads will probably be the medium of choice anyway.

It could be that Blu-ray ends up being merely a stopgap for early adopters, and that it never really takes off in the way Sony are hoping it does.

The big test will come this Christmas when prices will drop, and we will be able to see if everyday consumers are choosing to upgrade or not. Personally, I’m happy with my collection of DVDs, and won’t be upgrading until prices drop below the $100 mark, which could be a while.

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17 Responses to “Blu-ray sales have dropped massively since Sony killed HD DVD”

  1. iisdev:

    Might be because the only real (future-proof) Blu-ray player on the market now is the Playstation 3 (which recently added Disk Profile 2.0). The standalone players are *suppose* to be upgradable but why are they dragging their feet? It’s probably not a coincidence that the consoles sales increased as standalone players decreased. If the prices were about the same are there really good reasons *not* to pick up a PS3? I can’t think of any.

    In June it’s expected that Sony will be adding Blu-ray drives to it’s entire Vaio lineup (Desktop versions were already announced last month). If manufacturing was having difficulty producing the lasers before an across the board product roll out probably compounded the problem.

  2. David in Oregon:

    People who purchased HD-DVD towards the end were not “idiots,” I snagged an untra-high quality upconverting DVD player for a song. Now I use my Toshiba HD-DVD player for DVD’s and save wear and tear on my PS3, which is now only for gaming and Bluray movies.

    I got 9 free HD-DVD’s too. Two in the box, got to pick two more off the shelf, five more by rebate. Since then, I have been adding to my HD-DVD library and am convinced the wrong format “won.” I’m a little irritated that Bluray movies seem to have gone up in price since Sony bribed Warner.

  3. DaveBG:

    Sadly for Blu-ray they won’t be off of their PS3 dependence until 2013, if ever.

    That’s way too slow & far too late.

    Obviously as long as they are so reliant on the PS3 they are not going to be making much headway in the proper a/v market.

    They have a cr@p range of prices, specs & players (the game console is the only full spec one out now, though an expensive Pioneer is due soon) and their movies are far too expensive.

    HD DVD showed that sub $150 – $100 hardware pricing and sub $20 movies will get people interested.
    Not $$300 – $400 players & $25 – $30+ movies.

    There’s a recession on & besides not everyone wants to have a vast TV dominate their living room (nor shell out the huge sums necessary on new audio kit to benefit from the better audio).

    High def’s Achilles heel is that for the minority of us with an HD TV (& the majority of that minority having 32″ – 50″ HD TVs) the effect/benefit, whilst it is there, is marginal & for many just not worth the costs high def (especially Blu-ray high def) demands.

    It’s clear Blu-ray is a failed format too, it’s just that the PS3 is keeping it twitching a little longer.

    The public show absolutely no sign whatsoever of wanting to switch from SD DVD to Blu-ray……discuss it with most people and as soon as you get to the prices they laugh in your face.

    ……..and unfortunately for the Blu-ray owners they got a cr@ppy selection of movies & didn’t even get to benefit from the super low prices HD DVD owners enjoyed.

  4. Ralph:

    Not interested in Blu-Ray, too expensive. It is either DVD or the the low tech VCR. As long I can watch a movie, it doesn’t really matter if it is hi-def or not.

    Blu-Ray, bad timing…bad economy.

  5. Slippy Sloppy:

    I agree, purchasing a HD DVD player now does not make you an idiot. I’ve got a small but nice collection of HD DVDs which I used to play on my 360 add-on, which was also my main DVD player. The fan noise was too distracting so now I purchased a dirt cheap HD EP30 with amazing HD output and is a damn good upscaler to boot. It’s funny how in killing of HD DVD, Sony have started to kill off their own format. I’ve always believed the consumer should decide rather than having a format forced upon them, it never works Sony – when will you learn. Betamax, Atrac and now Blu-Ray – even when you win, you loose. I’m hoping for an underground resurgence of HD DVD.

  6. Psilaxs:

    Ever think about the reason why the purchase of high-end players went down in the first place after Jan, is that tax return season is over now? All purchasing of electronic toys surges around this time of the year with the expectations of tax returns. Christmas is for the kids, tax return is for adults. Little johnny does not get a 600 dollar piece of equipment for Christmas, But Mommy and Daddy do around Jan. when uncle sam send there money back to them.

    Horrible reporting. Look for actual cause and effect next time.

  7. Ralph:

    Psilaxs: wrote
    May 3rd, 2008

    “Ever think about the reason why the purchase of high-end players went down in the first place after Jan, is that tax return season is over now? ”
    ————————————————-

    Well thats says that Blu-Ray priced themselves out of the market, which ain’t good. And this economy is not good for $400 Blu-Ray players. I think the price of gas and price of food have made discretionary items like Blu-Ray way down on the list.

    The “second” tax return season is here now with the U.S. government “economic stimulus package” rebates of $600 per person. So we will see after this month is over on how people really did spend their rebates and if Blu-Ray did benefit. Too early to tell right now.

    This is almost like the problem that Vista has, DVD works fine, some low tech users (like myself) are still using the VCR, others have got some outstanding deals with HD DVD players and movies bundles.

    So (like Vista) why do we need Blu-Ray? And why do we have to spend so much for it? Why is Blu-ray pricing themselves out of the market?

  8. Niyoko:

    To DaveBG::

    You are completely right. I bought a HD-DVD player for playing DVDs and what HD-DVDs that I can get my hands on. I still think the wrong format won, but that’s the past now. :( The A3 is a great DVD player for $99.99, and the deal that I have gotten on some HD-DVDs is fantastic.

    I love how when I went into my local Target. I had a whole rack of Blu-Ray movies and only 4 HD-DVD movies, but the 4 they had were 4 damn good movies. It made me chuckle…but it shows that it wasn’t price, quality, features, or selection of great movies that will win the consumer. DVD is still the victor over both formats.

  9. benq620:

    media players all the way

  10. Frederick M Raposa:

    I think Blu-Ray hasn’t made it because they jacked up the prices ( way up ) as soon as HD-DVD died.

    Also the technology is great but the movies are crap…

    and another thing, a lot of people with a tight budget, gas prices and forclosed homes and food prices, well it is just poor timing as well…

  11. Frederick M Raposa:

    I think Blu-Ray hasn’t made it because they jacked up the prices ( way up ) as soon as HD-DVD died.

    Also the technology is great but the movies are crap…

    and another thing, a lot of people with a tight budget, gas prices and forclosed homes and food prices, well it is just poor timing as well…

  12. Frederick M Raposa:

    I think Blu-Ray hasn’t made it because they jacked up the prices ( way up ) as soon as HD-DVD died.

    Also the technology is great but the movies are crap…

    and another thing, a lot of people with a tight budget, gas prices and forclosed homes and food prices, well it is just poor timing as well…

  13. Justin:

    Why do you believe that the VMD format is “doomed”? If anything, I believe it’ll emerge as the winner.

    Just the fact that VMD discs cost a third of Blue-ray discs – AND they’re region-free – is proof that there will be a market for the format.

    You then have to take into consideration that existing DVD-RW drives on PCs may be able to write to blank VMD discs via a free firmware upgrade… It seems like a winner to me.

  14. jaytin:

    i own a blu ray player (PS3 lol) and havent even payed a blu ray movie once on it and yes i have a full hd tv (sony bravia X series 52″). now a lot of people will jump and say, “its cause you dont watch any movies on the PS3″ wrong again i do watch movies on it but divx and DVD’s only as its very expensive to rent or buy blu rays in australia…. that takes to my next point i dont know anyone who uses PS3 as a blu ray player its used more like a media player with a bigger hard drive instaled on it…anyways….glory to man united

  15. Thomas:

    1. DVD is going to be around for a long time, VHS was around a long time and DVD was a revolution over it not an evolution.
    2. Let’s compare an HQV upconvert player to BluRay

    A. Upconvert
    –100 DVD’s already owned – no cost to watch in hiDef
    –Upconvert player, pick your price but = $400
    –New release DVD’s purchased in a year 12 at $16.99 = $203.88 and watch in HiDef
    –Walmarts bargain bin in a year 3 @ $5.00 = $15.00
    Cost====$600

    B. Blu Ray
    –BluRay Player with average upconvert = $400
    –Replace 25 of 100 DVD’s already owned = $700
    –New release BluRay purchased in a year 12 = $360
    –Old movies release bluRay 3 @ $20 = $60
    Total = $1520

    C. Movies thru netflix/blockbuster ??
    and your movies you already own and purchase
    to keep will cost you alot more.

  16. Bill:

    >”…are there really good reasons *not* to pick up a PS3? I can’t think of any”

    Unless you have a new wizbang receiver – the PS3 doesnt allow you to utilize the new sound formats. It is definitely a limitation of the PS3, as a bluray player, that it doesnt have analog outputs.

  17. Darren:

    When the Xbox 360 HD DVD player fell to $49.95 in Australia it was the bargain of the century – dead format or not. Mine came with a full Xbox 360 Media Centre remote Control – itself worth the price – AS WELL AS HD-DVD’s of King King and Happy Feet. That’s about US$40 for 2 HD Films , a 360 Remote control AND the player which incidentally also plugs into my HP Pavilion and works on that as well. The Pavilion has an inbuilt Bluray and I can tell you now – that hands down – the HD DVD player has a better picture than the Bluray. I was also able to pick up a swag of films going out on HD DVD for $7 each – including The Mummy, All 5 Harry Potters, Apollo 13, Chronicles of Riddick , Shrek 3, Sahara AND TRANSFORMERS. So for the price of 3 individual BluRay films I have an awesome upscaling HD DVD player, a remote and 16 films.

    And you’re calling me an Idiot?

    I bet you thought the LHC was going to kill us all yesterday as well

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