The NPD Group, keepers and analysts of all things consumer electronics data driven, believes Blu-Ray is about to hit the big time. The recording technology should penetrate the mainstream next year, it says.
The proclamation comes after the company compared the types of people using Blu-Ray players last February to those using them last month. Last year, early adopters (those electronics hounds who will buy virtually anything new and shiny) were 64 percent of the Blu-Ray users. This summer, they only represent a 38 percent of the audience.
That’s good news for Blu-Ray, of course – especially as we close in on the holiday shopping season. And while this particular survey honed in on Blu-Ray set-top boxes, the recent price cut of the PlayStation 3 could be another momentum boost as well.
With all due respect to my friends at NPD, though, I’m less convinced that Blu-Ray will find the acceptance of its forerunner – the DVD. To take full advantage of the discs, you need a high end HDTV and the numbers for that are still relatively slim. Meanwhile, digital distribution, such as the programs offered by Netflix and Vudu, is rapidly gaining traction. Both are being carried by multiple Internet-enabled television sets and have distribution through other outlets as well (such as Netflix’s deal with Microsoft’s Xbox 360).
Blu-Ray’s not going away anytime soon – and might find some mainstream acceptance, but it has a long way to go before it becomes the default storage solution for home video.