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DEG Study: Blu-ray Favored Over Downloading

14 Nov, 2008 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Blu-ray Disc’s prospects for the future appear bright, despite slower-than-expected sales attributed in part to the down economy.

An independent study found HDTV owners familiar with Blu-ray favor the format over downloading and streaming by a margin of nearly 10-to-1, with about 70% of respondents citing the fact that there’s a physical disc to keep as a key factor in their decision to buy Blu-ray.

The study, conducted this fall by market research firm SmithGeiger on behalf of DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, surveyed more than 1,100 HDTV owners in the United States and another 500 in Japan and 500 in the United Kingdom.

Respondents were asked to share their views on various forms of HD media, including digital downloading, streaming and Blu-ray Disc.

The study found 96% of Blu-ray Disc users are familiar with downloading and streaming services, but that two-thirds believe watching a movie on Blu-ray is a better overall entertainment experience. Nearly nine out of 10 Blu-ray users said they would likely recommend the format to potential buyers.

The survey also found that 28% of HDTV owners already own at least one Blu-ray Disc player, either standalone or PlayStation 3. By significant margins, these Blu-ray owners say the packaged media format beats both DVD and VOD in picture quality, sound quality and extras. Blu-ray even received high marks for title availability, a testament to the Hollywood studios’ concerted push to release high-profile product on the format. According to The DVD Release Report, there are now more than 1,000 Blu-ray Disc titles either already in stores or in the pipeline.

The DEG findings are contained a white paper report, ““HDTV Owners: The Prospects for High Definition Media,” that was presented today to media and analysts in Los Angeles.

At that presentation, Chris Lang, SVP of SmithGeiger, said he is surprised at Blu-ray’s strong showing, noting that he had initially expected digital downloading and streaming to fare better. But primarily because of the superior picture and sound of the high-definition packaged media format, he said, “even younger groups are tending toward Blu-ray.”

The DEG’s Amy Jo Smith said Blu-ray Disc software sales are rising fast, and the format just celebrated its 2 million-unit month. She said the DEG projects Blu-ray Disc sales will account for up to 20% of total sales of certain upcoming high-profile titles, including Warner Home Video’s The Dark Knight, the year’s No. 1 movie.

Blu-ray Disc has been in the market since June 2006, but adoption was stymied by a brutal format war with another high-definition disc format, HD DVD. Both formats offered picture quality about six times better than standard DVD. The format war ended last February when HD DVD backer Toshiba pulled out of the race, and Blu-ray Disc now enjoys the exclusive support of all six major studios as well as minimajor Lionsgate and a growing number of independent suppliers.


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