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Disc a Great Value in Troubled Times

5 Jan, 2009 By: Stephanie Prange

While the low-priced nature of our software business has been a source of much hand-wringing in past years, this year it may have proven a boon.

With everyone looking for that $10-$20 gift, DVDs, and to a lesser extent Blu-ray Discs, seemed just the ticket. I saw The Dark Knight DVD at $7.50 at a local Target’s checkout counter. Now who wouldn’t pick that up as a stocking stuffer? It’s a great value.

Also, the video industry has a value-priced, mid-range and more-expensive option for consumers. Those that can’t yet afford the Blu-ray Disc or loaded double-disc special edition, can pick up the vanilla DVD, which is becoming ever more affordable.

I know many may bemoan the fact that we’ve got two formats going — DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Still, I look at it as a boon. The car business has its Toyota Camrys and Lexis’s. We’ve got DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

When consumers have the money, they will upgrade from DVD to Blu-ray. Meanwhile, the studios are offering those who do want to upgrade more titles, more quickly than we saw on DVD, giving them many reasons to upgrade.

I didn’t make any predictions last year as the Consumer Electronics Show wound down, preferring to call the video crystal ball murky. It certainly remains so this year, as do many things, including the future value of my California tract house.

Still, I can’t help but continue to think the Blu-ray Disc is with us to stay. It may take longer to take off than originally predicted after the end of the format war, which began to become apparent at last year’s CES show. But I am certain that consumers will begin to see the value of Blu-ray, which even at its current price is quite affordable in terms of software. Any new console game costs much more — upwards of $50. In fact, the game software business is looking at lowering prices in these uncertain times.

And though in the past I have questioned the usefulness of watching older films in Blu-ray, I have come to appreciate the format’s application on such classics. A few months ago, I watched the impressive Blu-ray of Close Encounters of the Third Kind and saw what the new high-definition format could do for recent classics and this past week I watched Casablanca and saw what it could do for older gems. I’m a Blu-ray believer.

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