Online Users Show Little Love for Blu-ray?

Market analysis firm Cymfony has released a brief research report, “A Blue Christmas for Blu-ray” (available for download with registration) which reports results from combing through more than 17,000 postings in blogs and online discussion boards during October and November 2006. The results? Sony’s next-generation Blu-ray technology is awash in negative buzz, as online consumers express skepticism over Sony’s ability to deliver a market-defining technology, and express resentment that the PlayStation 3 video game console has been rendered expensive—and hard-to-get—because of the company’s decision to include a Blu-ray drive.

According to Cymfony, the reasons online consumers cite for disliking Blu-ray don’t match the main points hit in the technology press (those being the cost of Blu-ray players and the “format war” between HD DVD and Blu-ray. Instead, 26 percent of online posters express a general dislike for the format, citing Sony’s history of proprietary formats which fail to capture a marketplace (like BetaMax and MiniDisc, and, it’s looking like, Sony’s UMD movie discs). Many posters also felt Sony was an “arrogant” company. Another 21 percent of online consumers based their dislike for Blu-ray on Sony’s decision to include Blu-ray in the PlayStation 3 gaming console.

Cymfony’s analysis found the competing HD DVD format garnered 46 percent more “positive discussions” than Blu-ray. Cympfony also found comparatively few people are talking about Blu-ray’s larger storage capacity or wider-ranging interactive features. But Cymfony’s data also shows that many online posters haven’t made up their mind on either Blu-ray or HD DVD, with over half expressing neutral opinions about the formats (53.1 percent neutral for Blu-ray, 52.8 percent for HD DVD).

Cymfony followed posts on 323 discussion boards and blogs, but found that almost 60 percent of the posts were on only 44 sites. Loosely categorized, Cymfony felt posters were roughly 40 percent videophiles, 19 percent were gamers, and 41 percent expressed themselves on “low volume sites.

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