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Europe May Not Get Cheap BD Players, Yet

26 Nov, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Those cheap and plentiful Blu-ray Disc players Americans are starting to enjoy may take longer to show up across the pond.

New research from Screen Digest suggests entry-level player supply issues are going to keep the prices high for Europeans this Christmas, keeping some consumers on the sidelines. Screen Digest suggests that the quick demise of HD DVD in February actually caused a problem for Blu-ray, as manufacturers couldn’t keep up with retailers’ sudden demand for more Blu-ray players.

“A shortage of cheaper Blu-ray players means that the sub-$300 machines that are already appearing on U.S. shelves are unlikely to materialize in Europe this Christmas,” said Screen Digest analyst Richard Cooper. “Combined with the recession, this means the format is unlikely to move much beyond the early adopter market this year.

“However, BD hardware prices will start to fall in 2009, and in due course even price-conscious consumers will start upgrading, not least because the format’s backwards compatibility means they can continue to make the most their existing library of DVDs.”

European adoption of Blu-ray will go hand in hand with the HDTV install base, with Screen Digest predicting 85% of Western European homes having at least one HDTV by 2012. Nearly half of those homes should have Blu-ray players, Screen Digest forecasts, and by that year, Blu-ray could be worth nearly $7 billion in Europe.

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