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NPD: Q1 BD Player Sales Rose 72%

First-quarter U.S. sales of stand-alone Blu-ray Disc (BD) players increased 72 percent over the same period in 2008, according to the March update of The NPD Group’s retail tracking report.

NPD’s point-of-sale retail tracking data showed that U.S. stand-alone BD player sales (not including PlayStation3) surpassed 400,000 units in the period, as dollar sales increased 14 percent to $107.2 million.

The March update to the Blu-ray Report also showed that overall U.S. consumer awareness of the BD format hit the 90 percent mark in the past six months.

“The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format’s market opportunity,” stated Ross Rubin, industry analysis director at NPD. “Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace.”

NPD said purchase intent for Blu-ray set-top boxes also rose slightly in recent tracking surveys, with 6 percent of respondents saying they would be “extremely or very likely” to buy in the next six months, compared with 5 percent who responded similarly in the August report.

The study said the reason cited most often by consumers who are not interested in purchasing a BD player at this time was that “their current DVD player is good enough, they feel the cost of hardware or software is an issue, or they simply aren’t interested in the product.”

The average selling price of a stand-alone BD player fell nearly 34 percent to $261 in Q1 2009, the report shows.

Consumers who claimed that they are likely to buy in the next six months expect to pay $214 on average, NPD said.