Despite Sony's effort to attract consumers with new fully-featured Blu-ray discs and players, LG and Samsung are not expected to sharpen their Blu-ray business for the time being.
Samsung engaged Blu-ray business five years ago with the release of the first Blu-ray product in 2005. Several announcements about upcoming Blu-ray players and recorders followed since then, with promising prototypes appearing in major trade shows. Samsung had followed the strategy of entering the "Blue" laser market by directly introducing a recording device and not a ROM device, in order to fulfill the upcoming market demand for storing data/movies, at high volumes and capacities. These moves gave an overall belief that the company could be competitive in the Blu-ray market. However, quite a few of these prototypes reached the mass production stage. Samsung released some Blu-ray players and also chose to finally support the rival HD DVD format , a decision hit by Toshiba's announcement to quit HD DVD business earlier this year.
Samsung said Monday that it doesn?t have immediate plans to massively inject fresh capital into its five-year Blu-ray business.
"Since 2005, we have been releasing Blu-ray products but we are not considering sharpening the business for the time being despite its success in the format war," a Samsung spokesperson said in an interview with Korean Times
, adding that his company is still performing extensive market researches for further strategies.
"With the format war ending earlier than expected, Blu-ray manufacturers are unlikely to increase their investment in parts suppliers due to fears over lower profits," another Samsung official said, citing a smaller market size.
Samsung "rival" LG Electronics has been also active in the Blu-ray business. The company showcased its first Blu-ray players at CES in Las Vegas in 2004. However, the company's first HD player was a Blu-ray/HD DVD hybrid, after the a cross-license contract with Toshiba in 2006.
But today LG seems to keep a wait-and-see attitude toward the Blu-ray sector as our company isn?t quite sure about the prospects.
"Globally, the potential market for Blu-ray discs is very lucrative. Consumers will spend $1.1 billion on HD discs this year compared with some $300 million last year. However, the business is still in its infancy due to high prices and the rapid penetration of the high-speed Internet," an LG official said on Monday.
Both South Korean tech giants are based in a country that is considered to be a test-bed for the success of high tech gadgets, while it also one of the world?s most Internet-savvy countries with some 40 million of the population ― 46 million ― having access to the Internet.
Some critics say the wider penetration of IPTVs may hamper the future of the Blu-ray business as IPTVs enable television viewers to watch high-definition programs and use high-speed Internet, while Blu-ray products charge extra for HD-level access.
However, with the current situation in the broadband internet connections, it is going to be a long time before downloading a 30GB movie is competitive with a physical disc. Try sending someone a 12GB presentation some time..