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Blu-ray Disc? Go Fish!

6 Jul, 2010 By: Thomas K. Arnold

"Blue ray" redirects here. For the fish, see Neoraja caerulea.

And thus begins the Wikipedia entry on Blu-ray Disc. America's most popular source of information about anything has a nice, long entry on Blu-ray Disc, but that entry begins with a caveat.

The fact that "Blue ray" takes visitors to the Blu-ray Disc page makes me think that a lot of people are curious about the format but don't know how to spell it.

Or they're simply looking for the fish.

In any event, there's a lingering awareness problem with Blu-ray Disc, and short of yanking all DVDs from the market and only issuing movies on Blu-ray I don't quite know what to do about it. Two years ago, I was impressed that so many people from all walks of life — even my painter — had bought Blu-ray Disc machines. Today, I'm wondering why so many people from all walks of life — even the contractor who just remodeled our offices — still have no clue about what Blu-ray is.

Said contractor marveled at our office collection of discs and wondered if he could check one out. No, he didn't have a Blu-ray Disc player. Did that matter, he asked?

I also wonder why we can't seem to get past 40%. I'm referring to the percentage of total disc sales that come from Blu-ray. Again, in December 2008 I was jumping for joy when The Dark Knight generated about 20% of its first-week sales from Blu-ray Disc. Within a year, 40% had become the norm for blockbuster action titles. It still is, today. The bar hasn't moved.

Maybe it's the economy, maybe it's no more room in the home for any more discs, maybe it's technological burnout. But we seem to have hit a plateau for Blu-ray Disc, which over the last two years has steadily crept past the early adopters and into the mainstream — only to stop just past the threshold.

We, as an industry, need to do something to get Blu-ray Disc back on track. BD Live certainly isn't the "killer app" some in our industry had hoped it would be. 3D for the home may take us there, but it's going to take awhile. And in the meantime, I just can't get past the fact that the Blu-ray Disc format is now more than four years old, and consumers still aren't nearly as gaga over it as they were over DVD in, say, that wonderfully explosive fourth quarter of 2001.

I can tell you one thing, it isn't the product. Our family is 100% Blu-ray and even the kids won't watch standard DVD anymore. I truly enjoy the clear, crisp picture and superb sound. I like the fact that the discs are a lot hardier than DVDs, and I love the packaging — small, neat, cool-looking.

I wish I could somehow bottle up the feeling I get when I watch a Blu-ray Disc and let the studios sprinkle it on everyone else. We'd be a country of diehard Blu-ray fans in a heartbeat.

So just how do we spread the love? That's Hollywood's No. 1 riddle.


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