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Appeared on: Friday, September 26, 2008
Sony Exec Defends Blu-ray's Future

The Blu-ray format will live on despite the recent reports of its imminent demise, Sony struggled to comment today, following the recent reports that predicted the near-term demise of the Blu-ray Disc format.

Surprised by the recent comment by a European marketing manager of Samsung, the world second-largest seller of BD players, who said to the press that the Blu-ray format only "has five years left," Rick Clancy, senior vice president for Corporate Communications at Sony Electronics Inc., commented that Samsung exec "couldn?t be further from the truth."

Sony's reaction was expected since the latest reports for the Blu-ray format indicate slow sales and adoption of the format itself even in the U.S. market, with some members of the Blu-ray Disc Association to admit that further efforts are needed towards the market awareness for the BD format. The reaction also comes at a period where Toshiba and Microsoft are trying to move the discussion onto networked content and DVRs instead of physical media.

"First of all, there are millions of BD-based PlayStation 3 videogame consoles in consumers' homes around the world and this number is growing fast as the device is introduced to new global markets and to new consumers every day. I believe the value of this product is only going to increase for many years to come - perhaps a decade - as developers realize the true power of PS3 in the new games they create, and as the device?s real world features like Blu-ray compatibility blend with new virtual and, yes, networked world features like PSN and Home," Clancy wrote at Sony Electronics? Blog.

Second, Clancy predicted a significant growth of releases of Blu-ray movies and television titles that will eventually push the sales of the BD products.

"As we witnessed with DVD, you can expect thousands and thousands of high-definition titles to becoming to a Best Buy, Wal-mart and Blockbuster near you - not to mention via the mail through Netflix."

Sony's exec also believes that the explosion in the sales of flat-panel 1080p HDTV sets will also drive the sales of the Blu-ray players. "..once they (consumers) have HDTVs like these, you better believe they'll invest a few hundred dollars more for a dedicated Blu-ray player or PS3 console to get the most out of their precious new home entertainment acquisitions," Clancy explained.

Sony also seems to rely on the relatively slow expansion of the high-speed broadband internet worldwide that could eventually allow consumers to get full high-definition video content quickly and efficiently. Clancy said that a networked entertainment reality is still a ways off. And as soon as the emerging world of networked entertainment matures, Sony will be one of the leaders in its emergence, Clancy added.

Sony hopes that the Blu-ray format will not only coexist with the networked era, but will actually enhance it for many years to come. "In fact, you'll see it evolve this way in new products from Sony and, I suspect, others, including some of the early naysayers," Clancy concluded.


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