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Blu-ray Growing, but 58% Still Confused

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 9 comments

Some people still think standard-def DVD is "good enough" compared to Blu-ray Disc.

For our shiny 1080P HDTVs, there’s nothing better for them than a Blu-ray Disc movie (or HD DVD, if you’re feeling nostalgic). And it appears more people are getting onboard the high-definition movie train.

According to the latest NPD data collected from point-of-sale tracking data, first quarter sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players in the U.S. grew to more than 400,000 units, an increase of 72 percent over the same quarter last year.

The dollar sales for the period only increased by 14 percent, however, reflecting the large difference in hardware price from 2008 to 2009. The average selling price for a stand-alone BD player (meaning no PC drives or PS3s) fell nearly 34 percent – from $393 dollars in Q1 2008 to $261 in Q1 2009.

Of consumers surveyed by NPD, 6 percent of respondents said they were “extremely or very likely” to buy a Blu-ray player in the next six months. On the other hand, 58 percent of respondents said that they were “not very familiar” with the Blu-ray format.

NPD also revealed that when consumers were queried about the reasons for not upgrading to Blu-ray, responses included that the current DVD player is “good enough,” or that the hardware and software was too expensive.

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  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 8 May 2009 06:39
    The people who say DVD is good enough are also unlikely to be purchasing flatscreen TVs. The moment they do, especially something 1080 capable, they'll wonder "oh, why does my DVD look so crap all of a sudden" and then they'll find out about the differences in standard def and hi-def.

    They'll then either go upscaling DVD or Blu-Ray, and more than likely moan about the extra expense.

    I'm already seeing it with clients - DVDs we've produced years ago suddenly "look bad" on their "new monitors". I go round and see they're running DVDs over SCART on 50" 1080p TVs. Insistent that the DVD has failed, I took the business upscaling DVD player and my own PS3 round to them and played the same DVD with no issue.

    3 days later they wanted to know where I got my DVD from and if we'd be doing future work in HD.
  • 0 Hide
    marshallman , 8 May 2009 17:51
    I've still not seen a 1080p film.
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 8 May 2009 18:12

    Shame...they be nice!
  • Display all 9 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    tinnerdxp , 8 May 2009 18:29
    LePhuronn is 100% right. I said the same thing before I bought 42" plasma. Right now I cry out loud every time I have to watch SD content. DVDs are just like normal terrestrial signal and even 720p is blurred and much worse to watch. The only annoyance I find about BlueRays is that you cannot get most of the films on it! All the classics are upscaled and processed (and although the result is not best of all - I accept that and am happy with) but most of the new films are either released months after the cinema's previews or never for some reason. What's the point of having all the HD equipment if you cannot even legally BUY the content you would imagine should be available?
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 8 May 2009 18:37

    I think the industry is still reeling from the the format conflict and as a result Blu-Ray is still a bit pricy to manufacture (HD-DVD could be done on existing DVD production facilities, Blu-Ray needs new kit apparently) plus the extra expense of processing existing movies to Blu-Ray slows things up.

    In a perfect world, all old material is done from scratch with fresh new exposures of the original master film then (or at least) new 1080p telecine of the master film to be encoded for Blu-Ray. They've done this with Bond and the results are sensational, even with Dr. No. But to save money, most people are upscaling and digitally sharpening existing SD footage and, as you say, it's just not up to scratch.

    All new material, either on film or shot HD, is processed for Blu-Ray as part of the original run, hence no delays on getting it out there.
  • 0 Hide
    david__t , 8 May 2009 19:38
    With enough processing power, SD-DVD can look *almost* as good as High Def. This is one of the things that more expensive players do a lot better in the upsampling department. It also helps if you have a decent video signal there in the first place: I watched the Superbit version of Fifth Element on my 50" Kuro with the LX91 Pioneer player and the image was the best SD-DVD I've ever seen - you simply have to spend the money if you want SD-DVD to look any good on big screen TVs. There is a reason why video scalers cost a lot of money...
  • 0 Hide
    vicious5id , 8 May 2009 20:47
    I agree with David, upsampling is one of the most difficult image processing algorithms to master.

    Interpolation artefacts are very difficult to diminish.

    But, if you can buy a cheap Blu-Ray player and rent a Blu-Ray movie, then surely that's much cheaper...?
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , 8 May 2009 23:47

    I have no problem paying double-figures for HDMI cables over 5m in length to make sure you get your signals out properly, but yeah for digital cables it either works or it doesn't.

    I still get gold ones though simply because gold has very little resistance and that can hardly hurt a digital signal (plus I got some beauties from eBuyer for about £4 each - Currys was shocked when they tried to sell me a £40 cable and I said I already had 10 for that price).
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , 11 May 2009 06:26
    Let us put it this way: The people are too used to youtube and the rubbish quality, down-sampled BS that is - even worst than DVD especially if you have a big monitor and enable full-screen!

    I'm watching all my dvds on my optoma 150" HD projector and that has some sort of upscaler and fills the entire screen perfectly, obviously my 360 games look better on higher (720 or 1080) settings but the upscaling looks acceptable and most of the DVD titles in my library are not even available on blu-ray anyway.

    I know if companies wanted to they could do a better job of upscaling on older films if they wanted to or put their money where their mouth is. Processing non-real time they'd probably achieve much better results - they did it with the old starwars films!

    Bye. Jon.