Blu-ray not yet finding a home on PCs

The format is enjoying strong growth in the consumer space, but is still trailing far behind DVD in the PC market, according to a research report from iSuppli.

Don Reisinger
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
Don Reisinger
2 min read

Blu-ray players are becoming a hot item in the living room, but they have yet to attract much attention in the office, according to a new report from iSuppli.

The market research firm found that 3.6 percent of PCs shipped in 2009 will feature Blu-ray players. By 2013, the company expects 16.3 percent of PCs to sport a high-def drive. During that period, DVDs will still reign supreme.

"BDs won't be replacing DVDs as the primary optical drive in PC systems through at least the year 2013," Michael Yang, senior analyst for storage and mobile memory at iSuppli said in a statement. "They eventually will find success, but during the next five years, that success will be limited in the PC segment."

iSuppli believes that Blu-ray's lack of adoption in the PC market is centered on two main factors: a relatively small number of available movies and the cost of adding a Blu-ray drive to PCs. iSuppli said its findings suggest consumers will be more likely to add Blu-ray drives to their PCs once the cost of those drives decreases.

Although the results weren't ideal for the Blu-ray Disc Association, iSuppli said that they're not uncommon. According to the company, new media formats in PCs have enjoyed success only when the cost has decreased to a suitable level. That success also depends on whether or not consumers feel the technology's value proposition is high enough.

iSuppli cited the 3.5-inch floppy's 15-year lifespan as proof that consumers will use media as long as they perceive value. Currently, those same consumers believe there is more value derived from DVD drives.

"It's undeniable that Blu-ray delivers a higher-definition picture, better sound quality and larger storage space for home entertainment," Yang said in a statement. "However, these benefits may have little or no value when viewing the content on a smaller desktop or laptop PC screen and using poor speakers."

The other side of Blu-ray
Blu-ray's struggles in the PC market don't extend to the home-entertainment space. In fact, the format is growing at a rapid rate.

In April, Adams Media Research reported that Blu-ray disc sales doubled in the first quarter compared to the same period in 2008.

But it gets better. Last month, the Digital Entertainment Group reported that U.S. Blu-ray disc sales were up 91 percent in the first half of 2009. Toshiba, once Blu-ray's biggest competitor and backer of HD DVD, announced earlier this month that it couldn't be a Blu-ray holdout any longer and would bring Blu-ray players to the market. It was another major victory for Blu-ray.

So as Blu-ray tries to find its footing in PCs, it looks like it has found its place in the living room.

Check out Don's Facebook profile, Twitter stream, and FriendFeed.