facebook rss twitter

Sony's Blu-ray may have won the battle but is far from winning the high-def war

by Tarinder Sandhu on 12 March 2008, 11:11


Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qal7v

Add to My Vault: x

Blu-ray has won the battle of the next-generation high-definition optical formats but is far from winning the war against DVD, at least in the UK.

Put simply, the proposition is still to expensive for widespread adoption, so let's take a look at the fact and figures.

Looking at the hardware, Dixons currently e-tails only three standalone Blu-ray players, starting at £199.99 and rising to £279.99. Amazon.co.uk lists the same Samsung BD-P1400 player for £199.99 but bookends it at the other end of the pricing spectrum with a Sony BDPS1E, costing £694.

Yes, sure, one can purchase a 40GB-equipped Playstation 3 for £289.99, and it's more than just a Blu-ray player, but the barrier to standalone entry prohibits all but the early adopters and enthusiasts from investing in the format.

PC-based Blu-ray drives make for better reading, with prices starting at around £120, but just what proportion of the public really wants to watch 1080p-resolution goodness on a PC?

Compare this with incumbent DVD. Fully appreciating that Blu-ray is a better-by-design technology that provides a more-immersive movie experience, standalone DVD players can be bought for £20, and quality upscaling players - which attempt to fill the void between DVD and Blu-ray - can be purchased from £50 . Blu-ray is the natural successor to DVD, but the leap in discernible performance certainly won't be the same as VHS to DVD, that's for sure.

The one-off hardware investment could be mitigated if the price of Blu-ray-based films were more palatable. For example, current Blu-ray best-sellers are available for £17.99. The same titles, on DVD, can be purchased for £11.99, or less, at your local supermarket. What's more, not all of the latest DVD releases are available on Blu-ray, on the same day.

Older titles are now generally available on a three-for-two deal, bringing down the cost of per-disc Blu-ray ownership to around £12. Again, compare that with the £5 you'll pay for the same title on DVD.

Right now, for Average Joe, sans a Playstation 3, there is no absolutely compelling reason to switch their DVD catalogue to Blu-ray, given the current cost of ownership.

Blu-ray needs to gain widespread traction immediately, because the nascent high-definition digital download industry will start to encroach on its space soon enough.

Question is, when will be the right time to switch on over? My guess is when players hit £99.99 and older titles are available for £9.99, or less. That needs to be soon if Blu-ray is to keep a large potion of the high-definition delivery pie.

HEXUS Forums :: 5 Comments

Login with Forum Account

Don't have an account? Register today!
Call me cheap but I rarely buy DVDs at ~£12 new release prices, I usually just get back catalogue ones in the 3 for £20 (or whatever this week) offers that always seem to be on.
HD won't take off until the studios stop charging a premium for Blu-ray over SD DVD. Once they're charging the same price for both formats, there'll be a much greater take-up.
The biggest problem which is completely ignored in this article is that most people don't own a Hi-Def capable TV yet. Until the majority of the population owns one then this article is largely irrelevant.

Also since when can you get a “quality upscaling DVD player for £50” and more to the point why would you buy a £50 one. The HD capable tv that it would be connected to is more likely to do a better job of upscaling the picture to it's native resolution than the dvd player.
Just bought a Toshiba HD DVD HP30 player from play.com for £49.99 including delivery!

Came with HDMI cable in the box, hooked it up to my Sony Bravia 32" LCD and awesome pictures on the 2 free HD DVD titles that came with it!

Also tried the Matrix, LOTR 1,2, & 3 existing DVDs for upscaling and it performed brilliantly. Sony may have won the war but there are some amazing HD DVD bargains out there worth snapping up.

Even my 9yr old son noticed the difference when we played one of his Dr Who DVDs.

IMHO £50 is the price point for a player to make the masses adopt Blue Ray. Whilst Blue ray & HD DVD are superior to DVD people will not pay the current prices for the player and the premium price for the discs because they can get them cheaper on SD DVD. Is the difference in quality worth £150? Absolutely not!

Blue Ray might even go the way of the Sony Walkman.!

Happy bunny indeed.

Shame Play don't have thenm anynmore, I was gonna get one for my new 24" 1080p screen.

Guess I'll have to try Amazon, but at £59.99 its still a bargain.