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Thursday, April 03, 2008
Blu-ray Penetration on Rise, Report Says

A report claims that the majority of U.S. households now know what a Blu-ray Disc is and continue to buy Blu-ray players, with sales crossing the 10 million threshold.

The study, from media research firm Interpret, finds that 60% of U.S. consumers are aware of Blu-ray Disc. The research firm claims that the survey was conducted in mid-January, after Warner Home Video threw its support exclusively behind Blu-ray but before Toshiba officially ended the format war by abandoning HD DVD.

Among men between the ages of 18 and 34, the critical early adopter demographic, Blu-ray awareness is at 76%, the Interpret study found. In addition, 10.3 million U.S. homes are currently own a high-definition disc player, with Sony PS3 to be inlcuded.

However, these numbers are still very low compared to the penetration that the DVD format had when it was introduced. The 10.3 million number represents 9% of all households. DVD penetration, by contrast, is at 91%, according to the survey.

The study sees the biggest impediment to Blu-ray?s mass-market success as the fact that the format requires not just a new player, but also a new television. There are now 44.4 million HDTV households in the United States, Interpret research shows, or 39% of all 113.9 million TV households. That?s a significantly smaller pool than the one DVD faced when it was launched 11 years ago.

Internationally, Blu-ray Disc still has a lot further to go than it does in the United States. Awareness is at 56% in Great Britain, 49% in Germany, 45% in Japan and just 30% in France.

The HDTV household penetration rate, accordingly, is lower in those countries as well. In Great Britain an estimated 26.2 million households have HDTVs, for a penetration rate of 35%. In Japan the rate is just 28%, followed by 21% in France and 18% in Germany.

The high-def player penetration rate in Japan and Great Britain is currently at 9%, the same as it is in the United States. In France it?s 4% and in Germany, 4%.

In contrast, 92% of British households have at least one DVD player, a higher percentage than in the United States. France is next, with 89%, followed by Germany at 84% and Japan at 82%.

However, the survey was conducted in mid-January, at a time were the Blu-ray hardware and movies were still competing with rival the HD DVD releases. Currently, with Blu-ray to be the major player in the HD entertainment, the prices have been going up and it is not sure that penetration rates and sales figures have remained unaffected.

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