released a continuing study recently that shows a declining interest in upgrading player hardware to a high definition disc format. The survey of 2,400 U.S. adults was conducted in mid-April and shows a gradual 2% drop in the number of people planning on purchasing a Blu-ray player in 2009. The same group reported a 12% rise in HDTV adoption over the previous year.
40% of respondents are waiting for a drop in the cost of Blu-ray software before purchasing the hardware and only 20% were interested in replacing their DVD collections with Blu-ray discs. 33% of respondents that already owned a Blu-ray player only purchase movies in the Blu-ray format and 37% only bought HD discs that they didn't have on standard DVD.
The decreased interest may be attributed to the current state of the U.S. economy as well as the growing number of alternative high-definition technologies available to the consumer. While Blu-ray discs offer superior audio / video quality to HD streaming alternatives, the convenience and lower cost of digital downloads is becoming an attractive option to a growing number of consumers.
Digital downloads or streaming HD pictures are being offered by a variety of set-top boxes as well at the current generation of gaming consoles. While the PS3 has a built-in Blu-ray drive, the PSN network is also offering high definition movie downloads for those not interested in purchasing discs or storing physical media. Microsoft is introducing an instant-streaming technology to the Xbox 360 in the fall, allowing for immediate skipping to any point in a movie and a joint viewing experience with any friends on their Xbox Live online network.
As storage capacities rise, HD content may shift to a home media server rather than physical Blu-ray software. Some internet set-top box manufacturers are already pushing to make all types of consumers happy. Syabas announced the release of the Popcorn C-200 set-top box yesterday. The C-200 streams plenty of internet content as well as adding an option to include a Blu-ray drive within the unit. Consumers are able to view HD material and store the content if adding an optional hard drive.
This survey comes on the heels of the Managed Copy Mandate which requires all studios to include the feature on all future software releases in 2010. Managed copy allows consumers to make one copy of a Blu-ray movie to portable players, hard drives or other media. The option connects to a studio's server through the internet and allows the copy to be made. Studios also have the option of charging for the copy. This feature is currently not available in all Blu-ray hardware and could require an upgrade for consumers interested in taking advantage.
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