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Study: A Blue Christmas for Blu-ray

6 Dec, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Historical doubt about Sony's technological innovations (Betamax and UMD) and corporate attitude finds a majority of online opinion favoring next-generation optical media format HD DVD over Blu-ray Disc, according to a new research study.

The report compiled by Cymfony Inc., a Watertown, Mass.-based market analytics firm, found that positive online discussions about HD DVD were 46% greater than Blu-ray, following scrutiny of 17,664 postings on social media sites, blogs and discussion boards between Oct. 1 and Thanksgiving.

The study found that early adopters — split between gamers and videophiles — spearheaded much of the online chatter. Closer inspection of 2,000 randomly selected posts found that 70% discussed the advantages of HD DVD compared to Blu-ray.

From this group, 23.4% viewed Blu-ray negatively compared to 14.2% for HD DVD; 53.1% were neutral toward Blu-ray (52.8% for HD DVD) and 32.9% viewed HD DVD positively compared to 23.5% for Blu-ray.

Cymfony observed little online discourse of Blu-ray's expansive storage capacity over HD DVD, and found no discussion of the format's alleged sophisticated interactivity.

In fact, the ongoing format war (16%) cost issues (14%), picture quality (7%), title selection (6%) and backward compatibility (3%) paled in importance to concerns about new video game console PlayStation 3 (21%) and general dislike (26%).

The latter, the study noted, was largely due to Sony's alleged credibility as a technology innovator and ability to succeed with new platforms.

Gamers led the dissent by citing Sony's inclusion of a Blu-ray drive in the PS3. Of the more than 350 posts discussing the advantages of HD DVD, 252 noted positively about Microsoft offering HD DVD as an option to Xbox 360.

“Sony forces you to buy Blu-ray,” read a post at forums.adventuregamers.com. “MS doesn't force you to buy HD DVD. It's about giving the consumer options.”

Spokespersons from the Blu-ray Disc Association and Sony were not immediately available for comment.

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