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Blu-ray Tour Hits New York

29 Oct, 2007 By: Anne Sherber

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. — Disney's Magical Blu-Ray Tour set up shop Oct. 26, 27 and 28 at Long Island's upscale Roosevelt Field mall. It is the only New York area stop on the tour, which is being co-sponsored by Panasonic.

The tour's booth consists of several interactive stations at which consumers can experience many of Blu-Ray's features, including movie-specific games, integrated menus and high-def bonus materials. Booth staff gives hourly demonstrations of the format's features on Panasonic‘s new 1080p 42-inch plasma high definition televisions.

Close to half of the 24 million households with high-definition televisions don't watch high-definition programs because they don't have the necessary hardware, according to research presented. Approximately 6 million of those households with high-definition televisions don't even realize that they are not watching high-definition programming. The goal of the tour, according to tour spokesperson John Grantham, is to help everyone understand the advantages and capabilities of this new technology.

A steady stream of customers stopped by to investigate the interactive stations at the booth. Some seemed confused to learn that nothing was for sale.

“We knew that consumer awareness and outreach would be important in general,” noted Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Panasonic corporate VP and GM for Blu-Ray. “Once [consumers] see it, they get it.”

Tsuyuzaki said the tour's staff hasn't really had to address consumer concerns about format wars, because the “war” is already over. It's easy to convince consumers that, in terms of technology and available content, Blu-Ray offers the better value, he said. Although Blu-Ray players are $200 more than HDTV players, Tsuyuzaki said that “HD DVD is just a souped-up DVD player. Blu-ray is the real deal.”

He does anticipate aggressive fourth quarter pricing competition among Blu-Ray players at retail. He said that the high definition plasma televisions are the big ticket item and characterizes Blu-Ray players as a way of enabling consumers to maximize their enjoyment of the high definition displays. “Sony, Samsung, Philips, Panasonic are all hoping to make inroads for Blu-Ray during fourth quarter,” he said.

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