I haven't bought a DVD in more than a year. Since getting a PlayStation 3--which plays Blu-ray Discs--I just find it difficult to justify paying a slightly lower price (for a DVD) for a noticeably lower quality picture.
It wasn't always that way. There was a time when I didn't understand the appeal of Blu-ray. Now, it's difficult for me to even watch a standard DVD. Even the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy--which was the holy grail for me for DVD picture quality only a few years back--disappoints me to watch.
It appears I'm not alone. According to a report released Wednesday by market research firm The NPD Group, first-quarter 2009 sales of stand-alone Blu-ray players (read: not including the PS3) in the U.S. surpassed 400,000 units, an increase of 72 percent over the first quarter of 2008. Dollar sales increased 14 percent, to reach $107.2 million.
"The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format's market opportunity," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD.
Sounds likely to me, especially in the current economy.
NPD's Blu-ray Report also revealed that purchase intent for Blu-ray set-top boxes rose slightly, with 6 percent of respondents saying they would be "extremely or very likely" to buy such a device in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded similarly in the August 2008 report. Honestly, that barely qualifies as an increase. Still, according to the report, 58 percent of adults continue to report that they were still "not very familiar" with BD.
NPD also reports that the average selling price for a stand-alone BD player fell nearly 34 percent--from $393 dollars in the first quarter of 2008 to $261 in the first quarter of 2009, and that consumers who claim that they are likely to buy in the next six months expect to pay $214 on average.
The data for NPD's report was collected via an online survey of 6,994 consumers between February 25 and March 6.