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IFA 2008: Blu-ray Association Press Conference

Gordon Kelly


IFA 2008: Blu-ray Association Press Conference

Welcome to the Blu-ray (BD) Association press conference. Given the formats decisive victory in the HD format war expect this to be a pretty upbeat conference…

Frank Simonis, Chairman of the Promotions Committee for the Association, kicks us off and we’re getting a five stage presentation.

1. Blu-ray status update. We’re into the backslapping and outlining the role of the BD Association (presentation, ratification of standards – yadda yadda). Still, with the war over 190 companies are now fully signed up BD Association members (noticeably Toshiba aside – come on Tosh, bite the bullet).

25/50GB discs and 6x recording remains the standards for now, so we’re getting nothing new in that regard. As for the market, BD player and recorder production, PC drives and media have already doubled the full production of units in 2007 during the first half of 2008. The US still leads the market by far in Blu-ray movie sales (15 million) with Europe (5m) and Japan (2.5m) bringing up the rear. Expect this to explode now consumers have a clear format choice and hardware prices begin their inevitable free fall.

2. Simon McDowell of Sony Picture Home Entertainment gives us the home retail picture and – as we mentioned from the Sony Conference earlier: 10 per cent of movie sales this Christmas are expected to be on the Blu-ray format. It also seems like you guys are getting the message as 78 per cent of the public is now aware of Blu-ray compared to just 28 per cent in 2007. As for Sony Pictures itself it’ll hit almost 200 Blu-ray titles by the end of the year.

BD Live – we’re talking Starship Trooper 3 again and this time I’ve got the snaps to illustrate what I was talking about earlier. It’s certainly basic right now, but in all fairness this is just step one and it hints at far greater things in the future.

3. Monica Juniel, Warner Home Video VP of International Marketing, takes us to the midway point. Honesty time and issues Blu-ray faces a number of issues notably the PS3 still represents the majority of BD players and those owners buy less than half the titles per year compared to those who purchase a dedicated player (approx two titles verses over five). Meanwhile, though recognition of the band is high (the aforementioned 78 per cent), thorough understanding remains low at just 13 per cent.

Title bundles will be the first initiative to change this while research shows there is the need for a controller with PS3 consoles as this significantly increases BD sales. So could a remote soon come as standard? Perhaps. In addition, expect a lot more in store demos since the seeing-is-believing is still core to the Blu-ray message


August 29, 2008, 2:51 pm

While I don't doubt Blu-ray will be successful, I still don't think it'll gain the adoption DVD has among people who don't care about tech toys.

The reasons for upgrading from VHS to DVD were numerous (menus, quality, ability to skip chapters, not to mention shipping and manufacturing cost) and Blu-ray mainly offers only increased resolution and high-def sound, other features are negligible.

I don't think it will become as ubiquitous as Dvds are now unless

a) Players and discs get real cheap, real fast

b) Writer drives are put in cheap consumer PC's and blank media becomes cheaper.

It's also facing competition from media centre devices and changing entertainment consumption methods. Sorry for the rant.

Hamish Campbell

August 29, 2008, 4:10 pm

Fair call. The improved resolution also requires an HD tv, whereas DVD improved the picture on CRT.

I'll admit there are a lot of new HD tv sales, but there is surely still a sizeable number hanging in there with CRT (just look at me!)

Technology changes, and so sho

August 29, 2008, 5:45 pm

Starship Troopers 3? Is that their idea of an exciting line-up of movies?

I'd add a point c) to GherkinG's list:

c) Content - remaster and _showcase_ a significant library of older films to make purchasing on Blu-Ray worthwhile.

Maybe I'm showing my age, but there are very few films released lately that are worthy of HD showing. The original Starship Troopers was a Paul Verhoeven masterpiece where the end of the film left you wondering who you wanted to win, the bugs or the humans and teh set-piece battles goggled the eyes; the sequels are poorly written tat filmed up close to save money on set design.

Try showcasing the superb Excalibur, Lawrence of Arabia or Spartacus. You'd win the hearts and minds of a far greater proportion of consumers then: people who actually appreciate film rather than the technology on which its played.


August 29, 2008, 11:01 pm

agreed all round fellas.

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