The NPD Group, keepers and analysts of all things consumer
electronics data driven, believes Blu-Ray is about to hit the big time. The
recording technology should penetrate the mainstream next year, it says.
The proclamation comes after the company compared the types
of people using Blu-Ray players last February to those using them last month.
Last year, early adopters (those electronics hounds who will buy virtually
anything new and shiny) were 64 percent of the Blu-Ray users. This summer, they
only represent a 38 percent of the audience.
That’s good news for Blu-Ray, of course – especially as we
close in on the holiday shopping season. And while this particular survey honed
in on Blu-Ray set-top boxes, the recent price cut of the PlayStation 3 could be
another momentum boost as well.
With all due respect to my friends at NPD, though, I’m less
convinced that Blu-Ray will find the acceptance of its forerunner – the DVD. To
take full advantage of the discs, you need a high end HDTV and the numbers for
that are still relatively slim. Meanwhile, digital distribution, such as the
programs offered by Netflix and Vudu, is rapidly gaining traction. Both are
being carried by multiple Internet-enabled television sets and have distribution
through other outlets as well (such as Netflix’s deal with Microsoft’s Xbox
Blu-Ray’s not going away anytime soon – and might find some mainstream
acceptance, but it has a long way to go before it becomes the default storage
solution for home video.