Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


BDA Welcomes 3D Into Blu-ray Fold

LAS VEGAS – The Blu-ray Disc Association
greeted the dawning of the 3D age at International CES by celebrating the strong
adoption rate of the Blu-ray format, and by pointing out that more than 20 2D
and 3D Blu-ray Disc products are being introduced by manufacturers this week.

The group also
launched here a new 3D Blu-ray logo that will help consumers quickly discern 3D
capable Blu-ray players from 2D-only versions.

According to BDA promotions
group spokesman Andy Parsons, this year’s show features eight home-theater product
bundles (one with 3D capability), 14 new players (four with 3D capability),
three portable players and a number of software titles.

Parsons said that
the high-definition packaged media format maintained its strong early adopter
sales pace, and it continues to amass hardware unit sales at a greater pace
than the one-time record-setting packaged media format, DVD,
did at comparable points in their rollouts.

In 2009, the
number of Blu-ray households increased by more than 75 percent over 2008 totals.
Dedicated set-top Blu-ray player sales were up more than 2.5 times over levels
reported a year ago, according to the group, citing Adams Media Research data.

After four years
in the market, total Blu-ray playback devices (including both set-top players and
PlayStation3 consoles) numbered 17.6 million units, and 16.2 million U.S. homes had
one or more Blu-ray playback devices.

Comparatively, DVD playback devices (set tops and PS2 consoles)
reached 14.1 million units after four years, with 13.7 million U.S. households
having one or more playback devices.

Parsons attributed
the strong performance of the Blu-ray category to a number of factors,
including the rapid rate at which prices declined due to competitive pressures
and the tough economy; the rapid adoption pace of HDTV
sets, which has generated a U.S. DTV household penetration rate exceeding 50
percent; and a demonstrably superior picture and sound experience compared to
standard definition and even other HD sources.

Parsons continued
that Blu-ray is not showing any negative impact from the rapidly growing pace
of online HD movie and video streaming services, adding that the two formats
offer ideal solutions for different use models.

Blu-ray, he
observed, is ideal for the highest quality home-theater experience, therefore
making it ideal for favorite title purchases, while downloading can be a
convenient solution for people who want to rent a movie or program to watch
once at a reduced price.

Another big factor
in the successful adoption pace has been the willingness of movie studios to
discount popular Blu-ray Disc titles over the holiday selling season. A number
of movie classics were available through leading retailers at sale prices as
low as $10, Parsons observed.

Even some new
release material was offered at substantial discounts from normal day-to-day
selling prices.

Parsons said that
in 2009, software sales more than doubled in comparison with 2008.

Blu-ray software unit
sales in 2009 reached 48 million, compared with 22.5 million in 2008, up 113.4
percent, according to Adams Media Research.

As for the 3D
specifications recently approved by the BDA, Parsons said the new advanced
subset of the Blu-ray Disc blueprint should help to maintain the format’s successful

Parsons reminded
that the specifications allow studios (but don’t require them) to package 3D
Blu-ray titles with 2D versions of the same content on the same disc. He
pointed out some studios ultimately may still opt to package two or more discs
in a box to deliver compelling extra content and additional formats, such as
digital copies for portable uses.

Parsons said
Blu-ray “is the ideal platform” for 3D technology in the mainstream market
because of the high quality of pictures and sound it offers film producers,
plus the uniformity and compatibility the specifications offer across the full
range of Blu-ray 3D products, both hardware and software.”

He said the specifications,
which were worked out collaboratively between hardware manufacturers and Hollywood studios, allow for FullHD 1080p resolution to
each eye. They are display agnostic, meaning they apply equally to plasma, LCD,
projectors and other display formats, and regardless of the 3D systems those
devices use to present 3D to viewers.

The specifications
also allow the PS3 gaming console to play back 3D content, including both games
and movies, through the use of a forthcoming firmware upgrade powered by the
platform’s powerful Cell processor.

The specifications
also support playback of 2D discs in forthcoming 3D players and can enable 2D
playback of Blu-ray 3D discs on installed base of Blu-ray Disc.