Blu-ray recorders doing well in Japan, players struggle

While Blu-ray recorders now outsell their standard DVD counterparts, research firm NPD reports that outside of the PS3, Blu-ray players are not selling well.

Japanese research firm BCN said that revenues from sales of Blu-ray recorders in that country increased more than threefold since January, when high definition players only comprised 12.4% of all sales -- and that figure included HD DVD hardware.

At least in Japan, the data shows that consumers did indeed hold back on purchases of high-definition equipment while the two formats duked it out for supremacy.

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BCN says it expects sales of Blu-ray recorders to continue to rise as the Beijing Olympics near, and consumers wish to record the events in high definition.

While supporters of the format may be quick to point to the news as evidence it is moving forward, NPD says not so fast. In the period from January to February of this year, sales in the US decreased by some 40 percent, and only managed to crawl back up by two percent from February through March, according to a report from NPD analysts including director Ross Rubin.

These numbers reflect unit sales (as opposed to revenues) for stand-alone players (as opposed to game consoles or PC drives) in the US (as opposed to Japan or worldwide). Sony's saving grace though may be the Blu-ray enabled PS3, which continues to see increasing demand in light of better marketing and lower prices.

Even so, most analysts say it will be at least a year if not more before Blu-ray catches on with the average consumer. That's not stopping companies like Amazon from attempting to draw them in. Recently, the online retailer put about 116 titles on sale at savings of up to 50% off the list price. With the discounts, prices of discs are roughly the same as the standard DVD versions.

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