Five Reasons Blu-Ray Will Fail

Category: Gadgets , Video

There seems to be a buzz lately that consumers are just not buying into Blu-ray. Here are five reasons why I think Blu-ray will ultimately fail in the consumer marketplace...

Beta-ray morph

Will Consumers Reject Blu-Ray?

It's been more than a year since the backers of Blu-ray triumphed in the Format Wars, sending HD-DVD to the technology scrap heap. But consumers don't seem to care. Traditional DVDs are outselling Blu-ray discs by a 6 to 1 margin, and a recent Harris Interactive survey indicated that 93 percent of Americans have no plans to buy a Blu-ray player within the next year. Even though Blu-ray sales are slowly increasing on a year-to-year basis, only 7 percent of Americans own a Blu-ray player today.

It's my opinion that sales of Blu-Ray players and Blu-ray discs will not reach the critical mass required to make it a longterm commercial success. I don't think the Blu-ray folks will wave the white flag any time soon, but the writing on the wall appears to be getting clearer.

Here are five reasons why I think Blu-ray will fail, or at least remain a marginal player in the entertainment arena:

  1. Video Quality - I've wandered through the electronics department at local stores, and have taken a good hard look at HD TV screens showing both Blu-ray and standard DVD movies. To be honest, my untrained eye can't see much of a difference. Here's why... most DVD players now have "upsampling" that converts standard DVD movies to near-HD quality on the fly. If you're not a serious videophile, the difference between Blu-ray and upsampled DVD is hard to detect.
  2. Money - In a tough economy with high unemployment and inflation looming, paying a $200 premium for a Blu-ray player is going to be a hard sell. I've seen DVD players with HD upsampling for $50. And that's only half of the story. Blu-ray discs cost $10-$15 more than regular DVDs. I'm into gadgets and technology, but I just don't see the value, or a compelling reason to go with Blu-ray. I might be tempted, just to have the latest and greatest, if the price of the discs was the same. But the "add insult to injury" tactic that the Blu-ray folks have adopted isn't working for me.
  3. Got HD? - In order to enjoy the stunning HD quality of the Blu-ray experience, you must have an HD TV. Less than half of American consumers currently have a high-definition TV. That will obviously grow, but it's still a major limiting factor for the adoption of Blu-ray.
  4. The Disc is Dead - Netflix and other competitors are rapidly popularizing the discless video on demand concept. Cable, satellite and fiber-optic TV providers are also offering pay-per-view movies in high definition. Why run to the video store when you can click a few buttons on your remote control and get the same result? I think the days when people buy or rent movies on spinning discs are coming to an end.
  5. The Internet - Hey Blu-ray guys... ever heard of that interweb thingie? It's getting pretty popular. The younger generation is all over Youtube, Joost and Hulu, thumbing their noses at Blockbuster and broadcast TV. Entertainment is moving to the Web. Fast access to high definition movies and TV shows, and streaming home media servers will continue to erode the market for both Blu-ray and DVD players.

Do you agree that Blu-ray is doomed to failure? Post your comments below...

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Most recent comments on "Five Reasons Blu-Ray Will Fail"

(See all 53 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

26 Jul 2009

I don't see Blu-Ray dying due to any of those reasons (Though I've never watched one, so I can't argue point 1 personally).

2/3. Disk/player prices will decrease after a while (players can now be found under $100 if you don't mind actually searching for sales), as many have already posted. That's how the tech market works. Television prices will also decline. Young people are more likely to find an affordable HDTV as their first set, and a lot of older people like the idea of having a television that they can hang up on a wall like a picture, instead of modeling their living room around the tube.

4/5. VOD is basically an expensive rental. IMO, it's not worth it. Amazon Unbox and iTunes are convenient download sources, but they are so locked down by DRM, you can't do anything with the downloads. I prefer to buy my DVDs and use freeware apps to rip them and re-encode them for my purposes (PMP, store on HDD, etc.). Similar software is out there for Blu-Ray rips as well. Besides, the Internet also assists in distributing physical media, because you can order a disk on Amazon (or Netflix), forget about it, and watch it the day it arrives in the mail.

Posted by:

26 Jul 2009

im with you bob its getting to much like the alphabet with all the new technology almost every year new definitions are arriving i might be 60yo but cant see the dif between hd or any definition its money sooner or later 2 years on more money if it lasts, mobiles are worse i like em but expensive little beastys to operate.ive got a box full of obsolete cables drivers printers ect waiting for kirbside collection.greenies should do something they might get some votes here in australia

Posted by:

16 Aug 2009

If you can't tell the difference between dvd and bluray quality movies then you're not looking in the right place :P

dvd's were expensive to when they came out give it some time price will drop soon everyone will have it

HD tv or computer monitor they are becoming more popular aswell

The world doesn't exactly evolve around america we don't all have access to netflix and itunes/appletv isn't worth the effort they sacrifice to much quality (we also have crappy bandwidth limitations sucks in australia) so the disk is far from dead

as for sites like youtube the quality they offer is still poor compared to that of dvd let alone bluray

i can't see bluray going away anytime soon

be sure to check out a full hd movie on bluray and compare it on a decent screen i'm sure you will be impressed :)

Posted by:

22 Aug 2009

I agree! Blueray will never reach the popularity of DVDs (and DVDs will slowly go away) Look at what has happened with CDs for music. They don't exist anymore because people perfer the utility of mp3, etc.

While a final version of of the mechanism to replace DVDs isn't quite there, it is coming. I can already just download (to own) video on itunes and play it back on my TV. It's still a little kluggy, but it will get better. Soon all my video will sit on my computer's hard disc, like my audio does now and I'll be able to send it to various devices where I can play it back.

The fact the current DVD quality is so good, and Blue ray so expensive, will just accelerate this process.

Posted by:

26 Aug 2009

Folks, here it comes. Four major studios have now reached agreement to allow purchase of DVD-quality movie downloads, which users can then do as they will with - burn to DVD, burn to Blueray disc, or store on a mass storage device (e.g hard drive).

This is not necessarily a death knell for Blueray, but it will certainly stunt it's growth. It's only a matter of time before the downloads are available in Blueray quality instead of DVD quality. At that point, nobody needs a disc or a Blueray player. Instead, they need a "Video iPod" for HD movies, with a miniature 1Tb drive and the appropriate digital video and audio output jacks. This will cause Blueray players to drop to the $20 - $30 entry level, because nobody except fringe videophiles will be willing to pay more for one when they can get the much more convenient video iPod instead.

Watch for it, and when it arrives, compare the timespan between the day DVD was launched and the day DVD players reached $30 with the day Blueray was launched and the day Blueray players reached $30. The second timespan will be a fraction of the first. All of that lost time equals lost profit for Sony, as the license holder.

Posted by:

21 Sep 2009

Everyone is focusing on one thing only, and that is video quality. What about uncompressed audio? If you are a music lover that is a unique feature that DVD cannot match due to bandwith limitations. Of course you can tout it's only for audiophiles but for those that want the best video and audio, Blu-ray is the only way to go. The cost of discs are coming down, with local sales of $9.99 on older catalog movies becoming more frequent. What I have decided is I will only buy blu-rays for movies I watch multiple times. I have accumalated dvd's that are only watched once or twice, so now I will be more likely to use Netflix for blu-ray rentals instead of buying them. As home theaters get more popular with projectors, that are shown on 100" + screens, having 1080P media is important for the best picture. That 7% of those that own Blu-ray are millions of hobbyist (only accounting for US owners) at the front of technology. There is much room to grow and blu-ray will not be gone in any near future.

Posted by:

20 Oct 2009

I have 2 BluRay players, but only a few BluRay discs - 2 came with one of the players. The others were gifts. Why BluRay? Simply to have the option of hiring BluRay rental discs if they are available, and just in case there are surprises around the corner we don't know of yet. But, like others, I've found DVD upscaling -from good quality media - is so close to current BluRay discs, I have limited my purchases of new dics to DVD's. Is all of this this economical? - probably not, but I do have the choice. Why 2 players? Well who wants to watch Jane Austen, The Bronte Sisters, etc.? Can't you see.... it just had to be two.

Posted by:

19 Nov 2009

CDs don't exist? I must have been in a mirage last night when I went to the store and bought one. Everyone seems to keep forgetting: people like physical stuff they can hold in their hands. I like to see something for my money. If it does indeed go all "digital download" I'll be saving a lot of money. I am not paying to download anything.

Posted by:

Ann Onymous
20 Nov 2009

The problem with trusting to online streaming of HD is that not everyone has a 10+mb connection, and very little is legally available.

Those of us who care about things like that will (and do) support Blu-Ray. You will also see an upsurge in companies (like Disney, for example) packaging standard DVDs in with their Blu-Ray discs like they did with "Up."

Don't count Blu-Ray out just yet.

Posted by:

Dave in Indy
02 Dec 2009

I have an older 65" projection HDTV with no HDMI and only one component input (in use) - not sure where I would put it. Seems like a waste for sending it to composite video. :)

Posted by:

09 Dec 2009

We love our Blu-Ray! We recently put in a new media room w/ a 58" plasma tv, pioneer reveiver, new high tower speakers and the Blu-Ray was the icing on the cake~! Movies in Blu-Ray on that set-up are the only way to wacth movies~! We love it!! Blows DVD away!!

Posted by:

Harry Skelton
14 Dec 2009

It seems that Blu-Ray is being pushed into dominance by the vendors. Recently, all the regular DVD movies have been moved from their lofty position up front in the electronics area at Walmart and have been moved to the side areas to give room for their Blu-Ray brothers. Walmart, it seems, is going to Blu-Ray. Even the players are starting to come within $10 of the higher end DVD players. Too bad they don't have USB-ROMs with movies. More space for more content - that's the ticket...

Posted by:

25 Jan 2010

Lets look back in history a bit. The VCR was around for what - 30 years - before being superceded by DVD.' DVD had about 10 years, and is still around so may go a bit longer.

Blu-Ray has been around a few years but just doesn't look like it's taking off here (UK). The only reason I'd be tempted is for computer storage. But to be honest, a portable HDD can hold more at a fraction of the cost of the outlay on a BD writer and some discs.

For video, for the last 2 years or so I have been downloading films to watch off of the Internet. Missing out on HD? I don't think so; a broadband conection, a copy of VLC player and an mkv file mean I miss out on nothing.

The industry needs to find another way to make money - if a 40 something like me can figure this out, the tech-savvy younger generations will have no problems.

Posted by:

01 Jun 2010

Lol DVD and Blu-ray are more popular than rip-off pay per view or satellite, and as for the low quality crap on the internet... lol stick to your iPads.

Posted by:

11 Oct 2010

for dave: your old tv is priceless for one thing. playing old video game systems that dont have the hdmi inputs, etc. have you ever tried to play a super nintendo or an old atari on a brand new hdtv using the analog inputs? it just looks awful. the Hdtv is way too sharp.

however, if you dont play old games it probably wouldnt be an issue.

Posted by:

Wade Duck
23 Jul 2011

(1) Blu Ray is not pushing the old dvd out. (2) Streaming seems to be the new trend.

(2) Consumers can buy an upgrader, pay one fee, and have improved quality.

(3) I think consumers are getting tired of being expected to buy the same films over again each time a new format comes out. Oh sure. There are some maniacs who play along. But they are the exception and not the rule.

(4) When we went from VHS to DVD, there were solid reasons. (Portability, better quality, not having to worry about the dvd wearing out from normal use, etc.)

(5) With blu ray, you loses the convenience of bringing it somewhere, playing it on a computer, etc. Add to that that you often have to go through the annoying registration process. Oh, and pay twice as much for the same film!

(6) DVD is good enough. And like most people, I am tired of the industry expecting me to buy my films over each and every single time a new format comes out.

(7) Blu ray can fall 6 feet under, and that's just fine with me.

Posted by:

Billy Brammer
16 Sep 2011

What is Blu ray?

Posted by:

19 Oct 2011

With online media entertainment becoming simple, easy, reliable, convenient and readily available, just like TV at present, no need to go for dvd or blue ray, even for keeping record of personal media, it can be safely kept in cloud storage facility.

DVD and blue media will be history just like cassette.

Posted by:

03 Dec 2012

Blu-Ray screams as the closest thing to loss-less replicated HD quality on disk. Standard DVD can't cut it because the pixel count is simply not there, and any attempts for standard DVD players to upscale merely adds to enhancing any jaggies or aliasing artifacts present in standard definition files, which become very evident when trying to make a standard DVD from any HD source (like AVCHD).

Posted by:

04 Dec 2012

Used movies are so cheap to buy there is no point renting them. It's also ridicules what cable companies want for TV content. I am happy as heck just to have HD quality over analog. The difference between HD & Blue Ray isn't noticed by me. Maybe if you had a 70" screen it would be noticeably better. I think there are different types of HD screens that provide a more noticeable differences in picture quality.

I have an 32" HD tv and built my own antenna from a few screws, coat hangers and a 2 foot 2x4 using a design I found on the web. I embellished the design with a parabolic reflector made from cardboard, tinfoil, string, a bit of wood and packaging tape. I got about 6 stations without the reflector and gained 4 or five more by adding the reflector. The stations I gained are the best ones, they are all PBS stations. It is important also to do a bit of research to find a formula that will point to the reflectors focal point. That is where the antenna should be. It is not pretty but nobody notices it unless they want to crawl up into the attic. Via wire, it is about 70 feet of coax cable distant from the TV.

I also have Ruku and Hulu free service, but the used and new DVD's I buy are the only content I purchase.

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