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Study: Cheaper Players Needed for ‘Blu’ Christmas

20 Oct, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Despite Blu-ray Disc players representing 40% of consumer electronics retail shelf space (compared to 15% last year), lower unit prices and greater consumer awareness top the list of priorities needed for wider consumer adoption of the format during the fourth quarter and holiday shopping season, according to a new report.

Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Retrevo Inc. found that 34% of respondents in an online survey said $150 was the most they would pay for a Blu-ray player. The findings underscores recent price cuts of BD players among national and regional CE retailers.

“Selling off a bunch of old Profile 1.5 players on Black Friday is one thing. Getting the price point on a good quality Profile 2.0 player under $150 is another thing,” the report said.

Lower prices may attract consumer attention, but Retrevo found that nearly 50% of respondents had never watched a Blu-ray movie, and another 18% said they were not impressed enough to buy the technology. About 33% (who had watched a Blu-ray movie) said the picture and sound quality was superior to DVD.

Regardless, consumer education of Blu-ray remains a concern. Among seniors, 62% believe DVD is sufficient. About 26% of consumers (age 25-34) don’t think they need Blu-ray.

“It was clear from the answers that the younger crowd is aware of Blu-ray and knows what a difference it can make,” said the report. “So whether [retail takes] that as a marketing challenge to raise awareness among seniors or appeal to the already more sympathetic younger generations, [it still has its] work cut.”

Retrevo said the clock “is ticking” on Blu-ray adoption. With increased media attention on downloading movies, the popularity of Netflix streaming and emergence of Internet-enabled TVs, Blu-ray is still the only technology capable of delivering full high-definition 1080p programming and audio.

The report said eventually broadband and fiber optics such as Wimax would make downloading and streaming of high-definition video and audio more practical.

“Lower prices and some good old fashioned marketing could turn the tide in Blu-ray’s favor,” the report said.

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