I’m feeling a bit contrary today. Perhaps it was too much holiday cheer or time with family and friends, but it’s time to talk about how Blu-ray was much ado about nothing.
There are postings today crowing about strong sales of Blu-ray players on Black Friday and through the weekend. There’s even one using data from PriceGrabber.com showing a 147 percent increase in sales of Blu-ray disc players from Black Friday a year ago.
It’s not hard to get triple digit sales increases based on a year where there were two formats embroiled in a war, and the few players in the market were exorbitantly priced. Flash forward, and we have just one victorious format and cheap players. Seems like a pretty hollow victory. A nonexistent one really.
The hardware manufacturers haven’t managed to hang onto the higher prices typically enjoyed at the beginning of a technology cycle, software suppliers are issuing statements about slower than expected sales and adoption rates of Blu-ray as a format, and the consumer is hardly in a financial position or mindset to embrace a new format and repurchase video collections for a third time in as many decades. How much money was spent on the development, marketing and maneuvering needed to establish Blu-ray? Was it worth it?