Blu-ray market share creeps up - or down - to 8 percent

Back in April, Sony President Ryoji Chubachi projected that its Blu-ray Disc format would garner 50 percent of DVD market share by the end of 2008. At this rate, according to new data, we could get there in about nine years.

For the US home video market, new figures from Nielsen VideoScan show that Blu-ray ended last week with a scant 8 percent share -- only two percentage points over the 6 percent recorded for the last week of April, and a 13.4% decline over the previous week.

Still, about 8.8 million Blu-ray discs have been sold in 2008, in contrast to an even more paltry 5.6 million in all of 2007, according to market research released this week by Home Media Magazine.

Content available on Blu-ray -- still a problematic issue -- seems to be moving along some with recent announcements of Blu-ray editions of The Godfather Collection from Paramount, the big screen version of Get Smart from Warner, and Lucky Number Slevin from Weinstein Company, for example.

Meanwhile, outside of the plethora of Blu-ray-ready HDTVs, vendors are also announcing new PCs with Blu-ray drives. These new PCs range from NetComputing's portable workstation line to Dell's Studio Desktop and Slim Desktop announced this week and Sony's own Vaio TT ultra-portable.

Companies such as Sony and Panasonic are also producing "fourth generation" Blu-ray players capable of presenting "value-added" BD-Live Content -- and one of these players, Sony's BDP-S350, actually got to market last month.

Yet pricing remains somewhat high at this point for Blu-ray movies, especially considering that a lot of consumers who buy these titles are likely to watch it only once before shelving it. The MSRP for Get Smart on Blu-ray is $39.95, for instance.

Meanwhile, Blu-ray players typically still cost $300 or more, although both the Samsung BD-P1500 and Sony BDP-S300 can reportedly be found for under $200 sometimes at Radio Shack and other stores.

VideoScan's rankings for HD DVD have disappeared from Nielsen's rankings entirely, due to the demise of the industry's only rival HD format, leaving Blu-ray to compete strictly with "traditional DVD" on the scoreboard.

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