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IFA 2008: Blu-ray Association Press Conference

4. Gordon Ho of Walt Disney Studios steps up to reaffirm the company will be releasing all new titles on Blu-ray and will also significantly expand its restored and remastered classics with the likes of Snow White, Pinocchio, Fantasia and Fantasia 2000 being added. These will be sold under a new ‘Platinum Blu’ brand and will feature new BD Live interactive content so you can get close up and personal to Aerial or Sleepy (depending on your preference).

We get a clip of a completely overhauled Sleeping Beauty in 1080p with 7.1 audio and indeed it is impressive. BD Live here includes a children’s guessing game which actually works!

5. Jim Bottoms, FutureSource Consulting rounds things off by looking at the future of Blu-ray. Blu-ray ownership is anticipated to virtually double between 2009 and 2011, driven by ongoing price reductions. The US will hit 45 million disc sales in 2008 alone, but it does stand a good 12 months ahead of the rest of the world (not surprising given the near 100 per cent the price premiums other countries have had to put up with until now).

As for Western Europe, we’re looking at almost three quarters of all homes have HD ready TVs by 2012 and ironically – given the relative lack of HD content – it is expected many will have upgraded their HDTVs at least once (screen size being the primary motivator) before they purchase regular HD content. In hardware ownership we should virtually catch the US by 2012 but will still have less than half HD content available that Americans enjoy.

In sum, the Blu-ray drive will be to push it from a niche, appealing product into a defacto home standard but retailers (not so much those online) and broadcasters are currently lagging significantly behind hardware manufacturers and indeed – based on HDTV sales – customer demand.

In fairness, while I even the BD Association accepts HD video on demand will be the long term future of home entertainment, the Blu-ray disc should have a significant lifespan given the broadband and technology limitations which currently restrict the vast majority of customers entering the VoD market.

Looks like it’s time for late adopters to bite the bullet and hop aboard…



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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