With the HD DVD format now in the rear view, Sony says it has an open road leading to Blu-ray domination by the end of this year.
Blu-ray, Sony’s high definition video disc format, accounts for about 20 percent of the global market for movie disc sales. DVD sales account for the other 80 percent. By the end of this year Sony hopes those numbers will be closer to 50/50, president Ryoji Chubachi said at a press conference in Taipei last week, according to DigiTimes.
This ambitious goal will rely not only on Blu-ray’s new Hollywood studio partners (those who were formerly with HD DVD), but also the growing success of the Playstation 3 video game system, which contains a Blu-ray player. Recent reports indicate the PS3 will outsell the rival Xbox 360 game system this year.
With DVD sales slowing, the movie studios (of which Sony is one) are hoping the high definition disc market can be their next multi-billion dollar cash cow. Multiple studios have stated their desire to jump-start this market as the reason why they backed one format over the other.
However, if they think it will be such an easy transition from one dominant format to another, they have another thing coming. Many consumers are perfectly content with their standard DVDs, which cost less and does no require an expensive new piece of hardware to play.
The quick movement of multiple big companies into the digital distribution realm could slow Blu-ray adoption rates as well. Apple, of course, is the big name that invaded the living room with the Apple TV, but Netflix is working on a living room digital box as well. Microsoft, makers of the aforementioned Xbox 360, also has a digital movie distribution channel over its Xbox Live service.
Both Apple and Microsoft’s digital distribution offerings have options for purchases in high definition as well, though, that HD really doesn’t compare to the definition Blu-ray discs can offer (ZDNet’s George Ou has a good explanation of this). Sony would be wise to play that aspect up if it hopes to increase Blu-ray adoption.