Let’s not beat around the bush— Blu-ray has been disliked since it first appeared on the tech industry’s radar. And this controversial technology had even the most open-minded tech experts scratching their heads trying to figure out why it was here and why it was so expensive. Well, today’s industry pros are singing a different tune. Rumor has it: Blu-ray is only here to stay because it had a little help from its friends HDTV and Netflix, just to name a few. Industry experts say the Blu-ray market has a bright future ahead of it. They can see these Blu-ray devices growing, evolving and settling into living rooms nationwide—however, they warn there are a few allowing conditions to this perfectly painted future. Unfortunately experts say Blu-ray’s fate lies in the hands of another—actually, there are a couple pairs of hands controlling Blu-ray’s future.
Confirming the rumor, Forrester analyst James L. McQuivey reports that Blu-ray can’t stand on its own. McQuivey claims there are two ways to interpret early adopters of Blu-ray: “They are either a model of consumers yet to come or a high-end exception that will fail to extend to the masses.” Currently, his results show that Blu-ray players are falling into the hands of a niche of aggressive multi-platform viewers, leaning this tug-of-war towards the high-end exception. What could even this out and defuse that niche to a broader audience of videophiles? Bruce Leichtman, President of Leichtman Research Group Inc., thinks he has the answer: HDTVs.
Leichtman says HDTVs are the biggest driver of Blu-ray sales, and that is only the beginning of this dependency for the duo. He says the lowering price points for higher quality HDTVs is today’s main factor helping the Blu-ray market grow. “Blu-ray is surviving because of the evolution of HDTVs,” he claims. “In 2006, one out of every six households had an HDTV and now the ratio is one of two.” Leichtman calls Blu-ray players the “Trojan Horse of connectivity,” because it will sneak into living rooms across America and ambush TVs with Internet connectivity and endless streaming abilities. The sneakiness from this analogy refers to the fact that people the majority consumers don’t quite know Blu-ray’s actual capabilities.
Similarly, Consumer Reports’ Senior Editor of Electronics Jim Willcox thinks that currently, consumers have been treating Blu-ray players just like DVD players, and haven’t quite explored all of its multi-platform possibilities. “The transition from DVD player to Blu-ray player, for those who have them, has been an easy one because of the Blu-ray disc,” says Willcox. “People are used to discs so the Blu-ray player appealed as something familiar and accessible.”