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Blu-ray Growing, but 58% Still Confused

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 51 comments

Some people still think standard-def DVD is "good enough" compared to Blu-ray Disc.

For our shiny 1080P HDTVs, there’s nothing better for them than a Blu-ray Disc movie (or HD DVD, if you’re feeling nostalgic). And it appears more people are getting onboard the high-definition movie train.

According to the latest NPD data collected from point-of-sale tracking data, first quarter sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players in the U.S. grew to more than 400,000 units, an increase of 72 percent over the same quarter last year.

The dollar sales for the period only increased by 14 percent, however, reflecting the large difference in hardware price from 2008 to 2009. The average selling price for a stand-alone BD player (meaning no PC drives or PS3s) fell nearly 34 percent – from $393 dollars in Q1 2008 to $261 in Q1 2009.

Of consumers surveyed by NPD, 6 percent of respondents said they were “extremely or very likely” to buy a Blu-ray player in the next six months. On the other hand, 58 percent of respondents said that they were “not very familiar” with the Blu-ray format.

NPD also revealed that when consumers were queried about the reasons for not upgrading to Blu-ray, responses included that the current DVD player is “good enough,” or that the hardware and software was too expensive.

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  • 20 Hide
    erun , May 7, 2009 10:45 PM
    @ scook9

    Sure, Blu Ray is much better for visual quality. However, some people don't mind the difference in quality and can enjoy a normal DVD as well. I don't necessarily watch a movie or TV for the visual quality, but more for the stories told, so despite being tech-savy and liking the higher resolution, I don't feel the need to shell out money for Blu-Ray.

    My point is that some people really mean it when they say DVD is good enough for them.
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    toxxel , May 7, 2009 10:20 PM
    Would believe the price would deters people people from getting to know the difference between the two.
  • -5 Hide
    scook9 , May 7, 2009 10:25 PM
    Thats because they havent seen blu ray on a HD tv yet. It is definately better. Even 720p is better. I have a blu ray drive in both my laptop (for traveling) and my HTPC, it is the way to go. And movies can be bought for as low as $15 now (depending on the title). And for the people who think that an upscaling dvd player is enough, you are idiots. The only advantage upscaling offers is that the LCD panel can now run at its native resolution as supposed to scaling down to the 640x480 (or less) resolution that DVDs come with. The color depth and sound are still much worse than HD (Blu Ray and even HD DVD if you can find them). I have watched "upscaled" DVD's on a very high end sony 52" LCD HDTV and in the dark areas of the screen there was very bad and obvious digital noise where the panel had to aproximate for a lack of color data for those pixels.

    Bottom line, Blu Ray is much better, if you dont think so, go to your local bestbuy and look at their demos. If you are really just too cheap, say that, don't try to act all high and mighty and say that Blu Ray is just overpriced DVDs.

    ALthough I do agree that paying for software to watch a movie from a disc that you paid for on a player that you paid for is bullshit. Thank god you can download any version of CyberDVD for free these days.
  • 20 Hide
    erun , May 7, 2009 10:45 PM
    @ scook9

    Sure, Blu Ray is much better for visual quality. However, some people don't mind the difference in quality and can enjoy a normal DVD as well. I don't necessarily watch a movie or TV for the visual quality, but more for the stories told, so despite being tech-savy and liking the higher resolution, I don't feel the need to shell out money for Blu-Ray.

    My point is that some people really mean it when they say DVD is good enough for them.
  • 5 Hide
    radguy , May 7, 2009 10:47 PM
    I don't think most people are confused. I bet that they didn't have a better answer on the questionare than "not very familiar" compared to other choices.
    Personally I still won't buy a blu-ray player until I can find one a good one under a hundred bucks.
  • 1 Hide
    fuser , May 7, 2009 10:52 PM
    I saw an article recently that suggested that many people really can't tell the difference because of eyesight problems.
  • 9 Hide
    Anonymous , May 7, 2009 10:56 PM
    Even a nice low resolution youtube video can make most of the people happy. Does Full HD look better... yes, but it doesn't double the joy factor. Well, those shiny scifi movies may look awesome in HD but do people care at what resolution they are watching "Gilmore Girls"?
    On the other hand I was interested in blue-ray as backup medium, but HDDs have become so cheap...
    So I would say for an average person DVD does the job.
  • 1 Hide
    grieve , May 7, 2009 10:56 PM
    I often find myself saying “damn I love the picture” when watching a blue-ray on my PS3. As a matter of fact I notice such a difference it may take away from the movie because I’m busy noticing stones on the road or a needle in the haystack.

    I do not own a lot of discs however as they are simply too pricey still.

    If I had to choose blue-ray or DVD it would be a no brainer…. Blue-ray.
  • 2 Hide
    zerapio , May 7, 2009 10:59 PM
    scook9The only advantage upscaling offers is that the LCD panel can now run at its native resolution as supposed to scaling down to the 640x480 (or less) resolution that DVDs come with.

    The color depth and sound are still much worse than HD (Blu Ray and even HD DVD if you can find them).

    ALthough I do agree that paying for software to watch a movie from a disc that you paid for on a player that you paid for is bullshit. Thank god you can download any version of CyberDVD for free these days.

    LCD's don't "scale down", content is always scaled to the display resolution whether by the player (standalone or PC) or the display. Scalers on low end displays usually have very basic interpolation algorithms and that's why the resulting image looks bad compared to that from a player. Some players have sophisticated algorithms for interpolating that exploit spatial and temporal information from the pixels that produce pretty good upscaled images.

    I do agree with you that the Blue Ray format brings other improvements than image resolution. I do not agree that because you purchased a BD movie and a BD-ROM that you're entitled to pirating a player. If you feel that HD players should be free and paying for them is "bulshit" then go to SourceForge and start working on an open source one. It's an excellent way of protesting.
  • 1 Hide
    Myrdek , May 7, 2009 11:00 PM
    @ scook9

    Of course it's better, but if you compare to the earlier format evolution its a very small step forward. When DVD came out, it was one huge upgrade over VHS, making the leap was very tempting.

    Blu-Ray is a very small upgrade compared to DVD and most people don't really mind missing out on it unless its very cheap. That and the fact that most people don't even have the TV for it, or its not big enough to see a difference unless you sit right in front.

    I doubt companies will bother making a new format after this, and if they do people won't buyt it. Unless they invent real 3D or something :) 
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , May 8, 2009 12:03 AM
    Oh I'm sorry would you like an engine with that car?

    That will be at extra cost...

    Thankfully LG and ASUS are bundling decent HD player software with their products. ( But I have to pay EXTRA for 5.1! )
  • 1 Hide
    matt87_50 , May 8, 2009 12:07 AM
    "hardware and software was too expensive" agreed, and i'm a big fan of bluray. A dvd player is good enough if you don't care about having the best picture and sound (and especially if you have an SD tv or any tv less than 32" or so). In conclusion: MAKE THE DISKS CHEAPER! and improve the awesome:meh ratio in the library of titles.
  • 1 Hide
    LATTEH , May 8, 2009 12:43 AM
    blueray is still to expansive for me and since we are in a recession i dont think i should buy it because if sony stops making them for some reason ill be out 200 bucks
  • 3 Hide
    cadder , May 8, 2009 1:04 AM
    We are stuck with standard def. analog cable, and all we have are standard def. televisions. BluRay is meaningless to us. I suspect there are lots of people that can't spend several months salary on a new tv. I think a lot of people, even those with HD sets, sit far enough away from the set that they couldn't tell if it was HD or not. I've seen graphs on the net that tell for a certain screen size and viewing distance what the max. resolution is that you can detect. For our TV and viewing distance, the chart says we couldn't tell if it was HD or not.
  • 1 Hide
    spellbinder2050 , May 8, 2009 1:09 AM
    I won't be buying a blu ray with these prices anytime soon...
  • 0 Hide
    KyleSTL , May 8, 2009 1:44 AM
    Myrdek@ scook9Of course it's better, but if you compare to the earlier format evolution its a very small step forward. When DVD came out, it was one huge upgrade over VHS, making the leap was very tempting. Blu-Ray is a very small upgrade compared to DVD ...

    You're attempting to make the argument that 480i to 480p was a bigger improvement than 480p to 1080p? You sir, fail.
  • 3 Hide
    SchizoFrog , May 8, 2009 2:13 AM
    @scook9
    Your comments are rude and naive. First of all, the public general opinion was confused about Blu-Ray. The general public does not go out of its way to learn things, it has to be fed to them. With that said, I wouldn't buy anything that I didn't understand and the issue certainly wasn't helped by the very public battle between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. The next issue was that as one of the reasons for not upgrading was that their current hardware and DVDs were good enough. That doesn't mean Blu-Ray isn't better. It means they are happy with what they have. Not everyone would buy an expensive new car even if they could afford them just for the sake of it. There are other considerations too. Personally I like a TV that is large enough for me to watch what I want but I certaily do not want it to dominate my room, TV is not everything to some people. Therefor I am happy with a 37'' or even a 32'' LCD and my DVDs are fine on it and in my opinion good enough. I have this opinion because I remember when DVDs came out and everyone thought they were great and people were not sitting around complaining about the quality of the picture. Just because there is a newer technology does not mean that the older one is now useless, the failure of Laser Discs would be a good example here. Then there is the issue of cost. Blu-Ray hardware is still way too expensive, especially in this economic climate and that has nothing to do with being 'cheap'. Why should I pay out £1000's to replace my current DVDs for a slightly better picture when I believe that my DVDs are good enough? I have always said that Blu-Ray will fail. Not because of its cost or lack of massive benefits over DVDs. I believe this becuase we as consumers are moving rapidly towards an on-demand culture. With faster and faster internet connections, massive libraries of content, no discs to get scratched or stolen, etc... Surely this is the way to go?

    P.S. Try to be consistant in future. Before commenting on other poeple being 'cheap' why do you want 'freeware' software when you can pay for better software? Or are you being 'cheap'?
  • 2 Hide
    ct1615 , May 8, 2009 2:22 AM
    blue ray is currently failing for one simple reason, other then a small niche, it has no demand. People like their current DVD players and collections, they see no reason to switch. Look at DVD disc sales, they dwarf Blue-ray sales year in and year out; even on new titles.

    blue ray is a fine product it juts has no home
  • 2 Hide
    hemelskonijn , May 8, 2009 3:10 AM
    What use would a BlueRay player be to those like me who don't have loads of cash laying around.
    I have a superb "old-school" CRT TV and my beloved Denon Audio set.
    If i wanted to get full use out of the blueray thing i would have to buy a new TV (and to be more correct one that is has at least the same screen size) and a new audio set.

    And to be honest you can call me crazy but there is no sound like a good tube Denon (or some other high end brands), its not like we are capable of hearing quadrophonic any way thus making the "suround experience" either depending on cheap chip solutions in overpriced systems or a well regulated setup in an adjusted room.

    I think it might be possible the load of people that was not to sure about HD-DVD and or BlueRay thought about the same about the subject.
  • 3 Hide
    tayb , May 8, 2009 3:16 AM
    I've seen Blu-Ray on a TV showing all it's glory. It isn't worth the money for eye candy. DVD looks fine for about $15 less per movie and $250 less for the player.
  • 2 Hide
    ahmshaegar , May 8, 2009 3:27 AM
    @KyleSTL: and you conveniently forgot about analog --> digital, stereo to surround...

    VHS tape can stretch and degrade in a really bad way over time. Remember how sometimes you had to put in the tape and then you had to adjust the tracking? Remember all the static and discoloration? Remember the pitch of the sound shifting up and down?
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