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Blu-ray gets portable. Success to follow?

Blu-ray is now portable. But will it be a success because of that?

I'm not convinced that Blu-ray will ever be as successful as DVD.

I believe that the players are still too expensive, the media costs too much, and there isn't enough of a jump in quality between DVD and Blu-ray to force people to jump to the new format. Plus, streaming video is slowly but surely becoming a force in the entertainment space.

Welcome to portability, Blu-ray. Impress

There's another issue holding Blu-ray back: it's not portable. Unlike DVD, you can't bring Blu-ray with you. And you certainly can't run into Blockbuster, pick up a Blu-ray movie, and play it in your car to keep the kids quiet on a road trip. That's been a contributing factor to DVD's staying power.

Until now.

Though it went largely unnoticed, Panasonic announced last week that it was bringing an in-car Blu-ray player to store shelves. The two-part system also features a "7-inch display, GPS, a CD/DVD player, Bluetooth, a 40GB hard drive, and iPod/iPhone compatibility." So far, no price has been announced.

It's an important step forward for the format.

Being portable means adding value to the consumer experience. Portability was a major barrier to entry for Blu-ray. If you can't bring your Blu-ray films with you on a road trip, DVD is still relevant in your life.

I realize that it's just one device and that the in-car systems will need to become ubiquitous before DVD could really become irrelevant away from home. But it's one advantage that DVD will no longer enjoy. Plus, it tells us that companies are thinking about Blu-ray as more than a bridge between DVD and streaming. And it tells us that tech firms are willing and ready to invest in products that will enhance our Blu-ray viewing experiences.

Does portability guarantee success for Blu-ray? Of course not. It still has issues that are holding it back from becoming the definitive source of entertainment in the home. But Blu-ray is quickly becoming more attractive to the consumer who wants to do more than watch a high-def film in the family room. And that counts for something.

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