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Thursday, May 01, 2008
Blu-ray set-top player sales down since January

The end of the format war wasn?t enough to convince consumers to go Blu. In February, the same month that Blu-ray Disc won the high-definition war, Blu-ray set-top player sales dropped 40% from January, according to the latest numbers from the NPD Group?s Retail Tracking Service.

HD DVD backers officially conceded the format war in mid-February, though Warner Home Video and several retailers had already committed exclusively to Blu-ray in January. Blu-ray sales were up 2% in March, compared to February.

HD DVD player sales dropped just 13% from January to February, according to NPD. Sales fell 65% in March as production stopped and inventory dropped.

?That stand-alone Blu-ray players haven?t picked up significantly from HD DVD?s loss shows that few consumers were dissuaded primarily by the ?format war,'? NPD director of industry analysis Ross Rubin said.

Rubin said NPD consumer surveys last year showed that an overwhelming majority of consumers said they weren?t buying a high-def player because their old DVD player worked and high-def players were too expensive.

?It?s clear from retail sales that those consumer sentiments are still holding true,? he said.

NPD said consumers continue to purchase cheaper up-converting DVD players over Blu-ray. Sales of up-converting players were up 5% in the first quarter of 2008. Sales of standard DVD players continued to drop, down 39% in the first quarter. ?Consumers continue to see a gap between Blu-ray?s premium video quality and features and its premium price,? said Rubin, adding that a broader array of releases this holiday season could change things.

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