Live from the Blu-ray press conference

Last year, the Blu-ray press conference was all about how the format was beating HD DVD. With its direct rival now gone, the format needs to show at CES 2009 how it will overcome other adversaries: price and streaming content.

Buyers still aren't snapping up Blu-ray movies in droves, although the format is making considerable inroads. And prices of Blu-ray players are finally hitting that much vaunted sub-$200 mark that HD DVD reached more than a year ago. So what's next for Blu-ray? We'll be reporting live from the press conference, which is scheduled to begin shortly.

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4:56pm PT: The room has been dismissed.

4:55pm PT: A question was asked about the Managed Copy feature of Blu-ray (and formerly HD DVD), which was to enable users to make copies of their movies for viewing elsewhere. Andy Parsons says it's not gone, just isn't here yet.

4:54pm PT: Andy Parsons said "This sounds like a customer service issue," and said that it's not up to the BDA, that responsibility falls on the studios.

4:51pm PT: Okay the audience is actually getting irate. The topic was brought up that the quality of bonus features are not worth the extra cost, and someone yelled "This is an industry-wide problem!"

4:49pm PT: A: With discs, you don't ever have to worry about storage failure or the limited capacity, so basically *I don't know*

4:47pm PT: Do you think HD Digital Downloads and Blu-Ray can co-exist where downloads are the rental standard and BD is the format of ownership?

4:46pm PT: The majority of the audience's questions are hitting the ground with an audible "thud."

4:39pm PT: Panasonic's Blu-ray portable. You can appreciate blu-ray on a portable screen. When you start getting 1080 on smaller screens, it still pulls you in, Doherty says they always talk about huge screens, but it's not always necessary.

4:37pm PT: Doherty: The best of Satellite and Cable are still delivering only one-third of the data quality that Blu-ray does. The bandwidth of the networks can't do it either. Basically he's saying there's nothing going on.

4:36pm PT: Q: Is there anything at the show you've seen that portends well for Blu-Ray?

4:31pm PT: Adams says there's no interest outside of "us nerds" in streaming video to the PC, there hasn't been a mad rush to pick it up. Netflix and its "omnivorous approach to licensing to whoever wants it" has the best chance of bringing streaming to the masses.

4:29pm PT: Erickson says it's so easy to be enthusiastic about new technologies when you're a techie, and forget that the majority of the world, society at large if you will, aren't that slick.

4:28pm PT: Adams says he's been hearing this his whole career, and electronic delivery is not hurting packaged media....much. They're going to coexist, If you're busy and only in for the night, you may use VOD. For most americans, they're not that busy, and they don't have that much money, so as the prices sink, it'll be the choice for them.

4:25pm PT: Mike Snider, the moderator mentioned streaming media potentially supplanting Blu-ray, and everyone on the panel sort of snickered.

4:24pm PT: Erickson says the total amount of BD hardware will continue to exceed that of DVD at the same point in its lifespan, thanks to the early adoption of PS3.

4:20pm PT: Adams says the software side had a phenomenal 2008, with a 9% decline in total disc sales (both formats), but the huge growth in Blu-ray despite tons of factors against it seem favorable. The overwhelming feeling coming from the guys on the board is still uncertainty. They're optimistic, but still have reservations.

4:18pm PT: Doherty says Envisioneering found that consumer understanding increased during the holiday season, Adams says his group's projection is 3.1 million thanks to Wal-Mart's christmas Blu-ray advertising that promised to "Save christmas with Blu-ray." Doherty brings up the $99 Best Buy Blu-ray bundle as an additional motivator for consumers

4:14pm PT: The panel has taken the stage...Paul Erickson of DisplaySearch, Richard Doherty of Envisioneering, and Tom Adams of Adams Media Research. Erickson says that Displaysearch had a conservative outlook which has changed to cautious optimism, because consumer demand has proven to be strong enough.

4:11pm PT: "What is BDA doing in terms of 3D," there's really no formal structure in BDA right now. They think it's the best package medium for 3D, and they want the overall experience to be extremely high quality.

4:10pm PT: There are a lot of figures being covered in terms of titles shipped and the rapid growth despite difficult financial conditions. Now the user experience is being discussed, namely BD-Live. there are 21 BD-live titles and 9 BD-Live capable players, with 11 new ones being shown on the CES floor this week.

4:06pm PT: By comparison, 3 years into the life of DVD, 5.4 million players shipped into the U.S market. In 2008 there was a threefold increase over 2007 in player acquisition. Adams media research shows that historic adoption of key home technologies in the third year, Blu-ray is near 8% of households, against HDTV at less than one percent.

4:04pm PT: U.S hardware sales statistics---by Displaysearch 10.7 million Blu-ray capable players shipped since July 2006

3:43pm PT: Like last year, the room is at max capacity. The format war may be over, but people are still interested in what the Blu-ray Disc Association has to say.

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