Sony Says Blu-ray Sales Falling Short

Earlier this year, electronics giant Sony had forecast sales of some 5 million Blu-ray disc players by the end of 2008, and while the company still expects Blu-ray devices to be top sellers during the end-of-year holiday season, the company now expects to miss that mark by as much as 10 percent. In comments to Reuters, the head of Sony’s U.S. electronics unit Stan Glasgow also indicated that, despite a global economic slowdown, Blu-ray players were doing well.

Industry watchers have generally blamed lackluster sales of Blu-ray gear on both the high cost of players (some of which were over $1,000 when the technology debuted in 2006), the high cost of content (Blu-ray titles can cost over $30 each), and the growing availability of high-definition content from other sources, including cable and satellite providers and online services.

Although many expect retailers to slash prices on Blu-ray players after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday—with some prices potentially dipping below $150—high media costs are also seen as a significant barrier to Blu-ray adoption. Glasgow indicated he would like to see studios lower prices on Blu-ray content as a way to spur consumers to buy Blu-ray technology.

Despite significantly higher image and audio quality, the market for Blu-ray hardware and media is still utterly dwarfed by the market for standard DVDs.