Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blue Ray Already a Failure?


The New York Times today ran a piece with the premise that Blue Ray (BR) is only a bridge technology with the endgame being HD content delivered over the internet directly to your HDTV.

Initially, was not sure how to react to this. I have a BR player and love it. The picture quality is amazing and it even makes old DVDs look better. However, I am a generally an early adopter and I also am getting HD content from Netflix online (I am using my HDTV as a second monitor for my iMac) and I also get HD on demand through Verizon's fios service (a fiber optic replacement for cable tv). As the library of releases available for HD streaming increases (especially the library of new releases) I question whether I will be motivated to plunk down the $20 for a BR disk. BR may end up like music cds -- they will try to sell me on extra gizmos and content which I don't really want. The result being that I haven't seriously invested in music cds (as opposed to iTunes) in over 5 years.

On the other hand, the penetration of broadband into US households is finite. It is often not even available. Or when available it exceeds the household budget. (I recently saw a NetZero add hitting this exact point -- the gist of it was, why spend so much on broadband when it takes you to the same internet as dial up.)

This would seem to create an opportunity for BR -- however, it may only be an illusory one. This is because the average household still does not have an HDTV that would benefit from the additional clarity found on a BR disk. These households are perfectly well served by the DVD format. Thus, you have an interesting ven diagram -- the future of BR would seem to lie with people who do not (or are unable to) have broadband in the home, but who do have an HDTV. In these recessionary times, this might be limited to the rural markets.

Perhaps BR does not have as bright a future after all. But at least for the time being I get to see some movies in incredible clarity.

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Dividends and Preferences by Hank Heyming is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.