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Figures show blu-ray continues to gain ground


HollywoodGolightly
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As if the good news of this year's blu-ray releases of classics - like The Wizard of Oz, Gone with the Wind, North by Northwest and Snow White - weren't enough, we can see the new HD format continues to gain ground among all consumers.

 

This is good news, because in the long run we are likely to see even more classic movies being released on the high-definition format, as well as increasingly lower prices for blu-ray players themselves.

 

Story from blu-ray.com:

 

*Blu-ray Up 83% Year-to-Date*

 

Posted October 19, 2009 11:00 AM by Juan Calonge

 

Blu-ray Disc Today, the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) released third quarter US sales figures for the home entertainment industry. Blu-ray was up 66.3 percent to $161 million compared to the same period last year (up 83 percent year-to-date to $568 million). BD accounted for 12 percent of all theatrical new release sales in the third quarter.

 

Furthermore, according to Rentrak Corporation?s Home Video Essentials, Blu-ray rental spending was up 44.5 percent.

 

In sharp contrast to that, revenues from the supposed nemesis of Blu-ray, digital distribution, grew only 18 percent year on year in the quarter and 20 percent for the first nine months of the year.

 

Consumer spending for the third quarter of 2009 in the home entertainment window for pre-recorded entertainment, which includes DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital distribution, was off slightly at $4 billion, down by 3.2 percent compared to the same period last year.

 

"We are pleased to see an uptick in the number of consumer transactions, indicating a continuing strong demand for home entertainment product," said Ron Sanders, President of DEG and also of Warner Home Video. "We are also encouraged by the dramatic growth of Blu-ray and the increases in digital distribution and rental in the third quarter."

 

Blu-ray, proving to be home entertainment?s stand out performer in 2009, is accounting for 12 percent of all theatrical new release sales in the third quarter. The year?s best selling Blu-ray Disc titles, 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' and 'Watchmen', have each approached or surpassed 30 percent of consumer spending on Blu-ray Disc.

 

"Titles that appeal to the early adopter demographic continue to perform increasingly well on Blu-ray, representing upwards of 20 percent of all physical media sales," said Bob Chapek, Chairman of DEG and President of Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment. "As the penetration of Blu-ray increases, we are beginning to see the same kind of response by mainstream audiences that we are seeing in early adopters."

 

More than 17 million Blu-ray discs shipped to retail in the third quarter of the year, an increase of 35 percent over the same period last year.

 

According to figures compiled by the DEG based on data from CEA, retailers and manufacturers, Blu-ray Disc playback devices sold 3.3 million units through the first three quarters of 2009, an increase of 13 percent over the same period last year. Through the first three quarters of 2009, Blu-ray Disc set-top player sales grew 112 percent over same period last year.

 

Blu-ray playback device households are nearly 11.7 million and include PS3, standalone players and home-theater-in-a-box systems. Approximately 80 percent of Blu-ray devices are BD-Live capable.

 

"We?re enthusiastic about the continued promise of Blu-ray Disc with more entry level players coming to market and the upcoming strong slate of box office blockbusters," said Amy Jo Smith, Executive Director, DEG.

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All this really is is just another way to make money! I am very happy with DVD,I think its picture quality is excellent! have had DVD since 1998 and have a huge DVD collection and always am adding more and I am very,VERY happy with DVD.

 

blu-ray , all it means for the studios is MONEY, all they want is money and the only ones who can afford to have blu-ray are the very rich, because you have to have those HDTVs and then of course the players and, all i will say is, better does not really mean it is, because really, whats the point in trying to get better and better? DVD is perfect and I am not alone feeling this way, as theres so many others who are very happy with DVD. blu-ray is just another way for the studios to get your money in having to re-buy all the movies you allready bought on DVD that are slowly going to blu-ray.

 

MONEY TALKS AND BS WALKS!!!

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> {quote:title=HollywoodGolightly wrote:}{quote} This is good news, because in the long run we are likely to see even more classic movies being released on the high-definition format, as well as increasingly lower prices for blu-ray players themselves.

 

Well, the prices for Blu-Ray players are, indeed, coming down. Wal-Mart has low end players for under $100 and I imagine that come "Black Friday" most stores will have players in that range too.

 

As for more classics, I'm not sure we'll see more released. Remember what happen when DVDs took over the market? Many movies that had been released on VHS never were re-released on DVD. The main reason being that they hadn't been profitable for the studios on VHS. I think to some degree we'll see that same thing happen with Blu-Ray and DVD. Sure, we'll see the major titles coming out, as we already have, but the lesser known ones and the niche titles, I'm not so sure.

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> {quote:title=markfp2 wrote:}{quote}

> As for more classics, I'm not sure we'll see more released. Remember what happen when DVDs took over the market? Many movies that had been released on VHS never were re-released on DVD. The main reason being that they hadn't been profitable for the studios on VHS. I think to some degree we'll see that same thing happen with Blu-Ray and DVD. Sure, we'll see the major titles coming out, as we already have, but the lesser known ones and the niche titles, I'm not so sure.

 

I think that will be true, at least initially. However if the format is around for a long time -- that is if it isn't replaced by some VOD system, involving downloading or streaming, chances start to look better.

 

In the meantime, you'll still have a blu-ray player that will "upscale" existing DVDs to look much better than they did when played on ordinary DVD players.

 

So, right there, you have one important advantage that you didn't have in the transition from VHS to DVD - that you can keep the movies you already have in the older system, and continue to play them in the new-system players.

 

For the time being, there are already quite a few great classics on blu-ray - Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, The Adventures of Robin Hood, Dr. Strangelove, 2001, The Third Man, Gigi, An American in Paris, How the West Was Won - and later this year, North by Northwest and Gone with the Wind.

 

Next year, we might see The Maltese Falcon, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, maybe even Ben-Hur, originally scheduled for this year but delayed.

 

Looming in the horizon are yet more classics that will look almost certainly great in blu-ray: Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, West Side Story, The Sound of Music, The King and I, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Maybe also U.S. releases of El Cid and The Fall of the Roman Empire.

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It's just my opinion, but I just can't get that excited about blu-ray. Perhaps if I was rich! ;) I know, the discs and players keep coming down in price. But, I can't afford a new TV, and you can't record on blu-ray yet(as far as I know, someone may be selling them for an arm and 2 legs)

So, if only the top 100-200 films come out, (and like markfp2 mentioned, many films came out of VHS that still haven't come out on DVD) it's just not for me, not yet at least.

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  • 2 weeks later...

For those who are interested in buying a blu-ray player this holiday season, it looks like there will likely be some nice ones on sale on Black Friday:

 

*Black Friday: $150 Sony and Samsung Blu-ray Players*

 

Sony The first Black Friday ads are starting to leak out, and Sears is already listing that they will have the Sony BDP-S360 and Samsung BD-P1600 for $150 on the day after Thanksgiving. This represents a $50 price cut off the original price. Both players are Profile 2.0 BD-Live Blu-ray Disc players, with the Samsung featuring Netflix streaming.

 

Analyst are predicting that $99 Blu-ray Disc players will be the featured products this Black Friday, and if Sears is any indication, that is definitely a possibility. Expect to see some older name brand or new store brand players reach the sub-$100 price range this holiday season.

 

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=3623

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In a society of planned obsolescence, the increase sales of Blu-ray should be no surprise. The million dollar question is *when* will a Blu-ray recorder be available? I myself just purchased a DVD recorder and am planning to use it during the holidays.

 

I will NOT replace any of my VHS tapes (those that I have purchased) until they wear out or malfunction. I still think the quality that standard DVD's and Directv gives me is still great and I don't care to read the fine print on a piece of paper that some actor is holding.

 

It will be quite some time before I purchase Blu -ray since I am still using a standard TV set. When it finally goes on the fritz, I will still be using my old recording equipment. When they *finally* malfunctions - which I hope be some time off, then I will buy a Blu ray, at that time a recorder might be available.

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> It will be quite some time before I purchase Blu -ray since I am still using a standard TV set. When it finally goes on the fritz, I will still be using my old recording equipment. When they *finally* malfunctions - which I hope be some time off, then I will buy a Blu ray, at that time a recorder might be available.

 

Well, blu-ray players would be of absolutely no advantage whatsoever when using a CRT TV. And if you're happy with your current set-up, there should be no reason you should feel pressured to get into it.

 

Please understand that, for me, it's something I'd been waiting for almost 15 years, or longer, when I first started reading about this thing called "high-definition" and learned that it would supposedly replace ordinary TV someday. Funny thing is, most of the technology was ready 15 years ago, but it wasn't feasible simply because of the costs involved (for TV viewers as well as for TV stations).

 

It's taken a decade-and-a-half for all of this stuff I read about in college to finally start becoming commonplace in American households, so personally I'm really happy about it.

 

But just because some of us like it, doesn't mean everybody has to.

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> {quote:title=mr6666 wrote:}{quote}

> With all your constant promotion of blu-ray info, are you somehow invested in any of their production companies, or why the obsession?

 

See my earlier post. I've been looking forward to this technology for a little over 15 years.

 

So, in other words, I'd been hearing and reading about HD and the future of TV since before TCM even existed.

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The tubes are 12AT6 detector, 50C5 audio amplifier and 35W4 rectifier.

 

You might be surprise to know this but tubes are still being used in high end audio and guitar amplifiers. Russia are the main supplier of vacuum tubes and are probually the best ever made.

 

Check out Audio Advisor for amplifiers. Be prepared for sticker shock.

 

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=VIV60

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}You might be surprise to know this but tubes are still being used in high end audio and guitar amplifiers.

 

I still use all the old stuff, so I'm not surprised at all. (For some reason my attempt to post pictures is not working, so I assume something on the site is messed up.) I like old tube amps from the 50's & 60's, as well as tube preamps, mic pres, reverb, units and tape echoes.

 

As for Russian tubes being anywhere near the equivalent of the older USA (RCA, Tungsol) and UK (Mullard, Brimar,) tubes, we'll have to agree to disagree. As for my personal faves, Telefunken and Amperex, there is nothing I've heard that compares.

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These two sites should expalin.

http://www.electronics-tutorials.com/receivers/regen-radio-receiver.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_circuit

 

They can be tricky to use. For *local* radio stations its no big deal but for shortwave or DX AM broadcast, there is a fine balance between tuning and regeneration level. Most people who don't know about these receivers but comes across them thinks they are broken. Its just that they need a long wire antenna, about 100 - 130 feet, a *good* ground and needs to know how to operate the set.

 

Trivia: On the wiki site above, they mention the name Lee De Forest. He is the same guy who invented the vacuum tube and *sound on film recording - Phonofilm!* You might remembered the old TCM thread from about a year ago when the topic was about the earliest sound on film recordings besides the Vitaphone disc recordings.

 

Radio is what got the ball rolling for the development of talking pictures. So when you listen to the *sound* in movies, you have this old radio tech to thank!

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> {quote:title=hamradio wrote:}{quote}

> Radio is what got the ball rolling for the development of talking pictures. So when you listen to the *sound* in movies, you have this old radio tech to thank!

 

And you know, things have never been the same since then. ;)

 

Thanks for the links, I'll read more about this - I hadn't even given much thought to short-wave radios until now, I used to have one, or at least we had one at home, when I was little. I don't even remember what we might have picked up on it.

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You really got me to thinking about the present DVD / Blu ray technology and you will have to see this to beleive it. Use the Zoom in whenever possible.

 

How about a DVD player with *vacuum tube / HDMI output!!*

http://www.alibaba.com/product-gs/220620327/Vacuum_Tube_DVD_Player_FT800_FM.html

 

A hybrid CD player with vacuum tube amplifier already built in

http://www.audioadvisor.com/prodinfo.asp?number=VICDS6%20%20%20%20SIL

 

And to top it off check out the Blu-ray.com discussion forum about adding vacuum tube amplifiers.

http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=60734&page=2

 

Am I'm right or what?

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Interesting report from the Blu-Con 2.0 conference....

 

*Scorsese a Big Blu-ray Fan*

 

Blu-ray Disc At the Blu-Con 2.0 conference yesterday, Academy Award-winning filmmaker Martin Scorsese, who is also a veteran and avid cinephile, sang the praises of the Blu-ray format because it offers viewers at home the chance to "experience the best possible sound and picture" and see "the film as it was meant to be seen." Movies viewed in the HD format boast a "film-grain quality," he added.

 

Also, Scorsese opined that BD "will extend the life of movies", because the clarity makes classic films look new again, and thus more attractive for younger audiences. ?Blu-ray will extend the life of movies,? Scorsese said. "I have a daughter who's 10, and she can't tell the difference between old films and new films." That makes him "very excited and optimistic as a filmmaker and a film lover".

 

On the other hand, a poor presentation, in his opinion, detracts from the movie-watching experience, especially for younger viewers. ?There are subtle things, like not being able to see the actor's eyes. With Blu-ray, you don't have that problem.?

 

During Q&A time, Scorsese was asked which film he has most enjoyed watching on Blu-ray. Scorsese said it was the 'The Searchers'. The Ford/Wayne classic has long been one of Scorsese's favorites, and he considers the BD "incredible." He said it was "something about the beauty of the landscape and the nature of the faces ? you put it on just to check something out, and you can't take it off."

 

Scorsese films released on Blu-ray include:

 

* 'Shine a Light'

* 'The Departed'

* 'The Aviator'

* 'Gangs of New York'

* 'Casino'

* 'GoodFellas' (also announced on a 20th Anniversary Edition)

* 'Raging Bull'

* 'The Last Waltz'

 

However, many other Scorsese movies are still unreleased on BD, notably 'Taxi Driver', which was supposed to have come out early this year, and also 'Bringing Out the Dead', 'Kundun', 'The Age of Innocence', 'Cape Fear', 'The Last Temptation of Christ', 'The Color of Money', 'After Hours', 'The King of Comedy', 'New York, New York', 'Mean Streets' and "Who's That Knocking at My Door', as well as the documentaries 'No Direction Home', 'My Voyage in Italy' and 'A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies'.

 

According to the The Hollywood Reporter, Sony senior VP for restoration and mastering Grover Crisp said that, with his infectious enthusiasm for Blu-ray, Scorsese "has also gotten other directors like Michael Mann and Christopher Nolan involved" on disc remastering and special features.

 

http://www.blu-ray.com/news/?id=3645

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More good news for blu-ray owners and those who've recently gotten their players - with the bad economy, prices for movies in blu-ray format are coming down much faster than they would have in better economic times:

 

http://www.homemediamagazine.com/blu-ray-disc/stores-bringing-blu-ray-disc-prices-below-20-17556

 

By : John Latchem | Posted: 10 Nov 2009

 

Premium pricing for new Blu-ray Disc releases appears to be falling by the wayside as part of an all-out effort by studios to bring the high-definition format to the masses.

 

Indeed, Wal-Mart and several other mass merchant retail chains have begun to sell certain new Blu-ray Discs at less than $20, practically the same price as a new DVD.

 

?There?s a lot of aggressive discounting going on,? said Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research. ?We expect to see more of that.?

 

Studio executives initially saw Blu-ray Disc as a way to get consumers to pay more for movies after years of steady price erosion on DVD, particularly on the catalog side of the business. But with the troubled economy slowing Blu-ray Disc?s move into the mainstream, executives are rethinking their strategy and sacrificing premium pricing for faster mass adoption.

 

?Clearly, price is a factor, especially in this economy,? said a home entertainment division president of one of the six major studios. ?We originally saw Blu-ray as a way to generate incremental revenue from premium price points, but we?re at the point now where we?re willing to settle for [blu-ray Disc being] a replacement technology.?

 

During the Nov. 3 Blu-Con 2.0 conference in Beverly Hills, Calif., Best Buy EVP Mike Vitelli complained about Blu-ray Disc?s higher pricing, which he sees as an obstacle to mass market adoption ? particularly since the format doesn?t yet have widely available portable or mobile player options.

 

Wal-Mart has started offering new Blu-ray Discs of theatrical films such as Paramount?s Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment?s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Aliens in the Attic, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment?s The Taking of Pelham 123 at $19.96 their first week on shelves.

 

Judging by online presales of upcoming titles for late November and early December, several other retailers are following suit. Target and Amazon.com have joined Walmart.com in offering a slew of films on Blu-ray for less than $20: Warner?s My Sister?s Keeper, Four Christmases, Terminator: Salvation, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and The Hangover; Sony Pictures? Angels & Demons; and Fox?s Night at the Museum: Battle for the Smithsonian. In most cases, the Blu-ray is offered at only $1 or $2 more than the DVD version, and cheaper than multi-DVD special editions that offer more bonus content than the basic DVD, but usually have less content than the Blu-ray version.

 

?There?s something about that $20 market in business that doesn?t change, despite 3% inflation in the last decade,? Adams said. ?DVD sales at mass market exploded after falling below that $20 barrier. That seems to be the magic price point.?

 

The drive to lower the store-selling price of Blu-ray Disc releases is likely a response to retailers such as Vitelli who say it?s tough enough to push a new format in this economy without being saddled with significantly higher prices.

 

Adding further pressure to lower prices on new Blu-ray Discs is the surge in rentals, a byproduct of the recession industry pundits say is behind the 13.9% drop in year-over-year packaged-media sales.

 

Studio sources say the lower store prices are being made possible in part by a significant drop in the wholesale price they charge retailers for new Blu-ray Discs, although they hasten to add that mass merchants also are using Blu-ray Discs as loss leaders, meaning the sales price is actually below cost.

 

On the surface, little has changed. Studios will typically list a new-release theatrical DVD at a suggested retail price of $29.99, with the Blu-ray Disc version of the same title listing at $39.99 or $35.99. According to the industry tip sheet The DVD Release Report, the average studio SRP for both theatrical DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles has actually increased since 2007, the first full year Blu-ray was on the market.

 

?That just shows the irrelevance of suggested retail prices,? said one veteran industry observer.

 

According to a Home Media Magazine survey of pricing at Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and Amazon.com, the average shelf price of a new Blu-ray Disc of a theatrical film has dropped nearly $2 from the first half of 2009 to the second. And from the third quarter to the fourth quarter, the price has dropped nearly $3, based on pre-release pricing from the stores? Web sites.

 

?Premium prices were going to shrink,? Adams said. ?But we didn?t expect to see prices under $20 this year.?

 

The average price charged for new basic-configuration DVDs also has dropped about $2 from the first half of the year to the second. A lot of this change is due to several retailers pre-selling new-release DVDs of hit films for $10 or less heading into the holiday shopping season.

 

?It?s a question of whether it?s worth it for the traffic,? Adams said. ?And they are all in desperate need for a strong comeback. They?re willing to lose a buck or two on a DVD. So yes, it is worth it.?

 

Studios also are stepping up the production of Blu-ray Disc combo packs, which contain both the Blu-ray Disc and the DVD versions of a film in the same package and typically sell for the same or not much more than the standalone Blu-ray Disc.

 

?[The DVD in the combo pack is] a cheap thing to give away,? Adams said. ?The more, the better, if it encourages consumers to move on.?

 

Adams projects 9 million Blu-ray ready homes at the end of this year, up from 3 million at the end of last year. He said the format has less than 10% market penetration, after discounting PlayStation 3 gamers who he says don?t have any interest in buying movies.

 

Once the number of homes hits the 25 million to 50 million range, Adams said, studios should be able to safely phase out DVD completely.

 

?[blu-ray is] going to be adopted, in our view,? Adams said. ?It?s the next player you buy. It will be under $100 for the holidays this year, and under $100 permanently starting next year. The adoption curve is healthy. It gives the studio a lot of options.?

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Looks like Best Buy will give blu-ray a major boost this holiday season...

 

http://www.homemediamagazine.com/best-buy/best-buy-boosts-blu-17570

 

By : Erik Gruenwedel

 

Best Buy Co. is ramping up its Blu-ray Disc software push this holiday season, allocating up to three times as much floor space to the high-definition disc as it did last year and working with two studios to test new store patterns.

 

Throughout its 1,023 U.S. stores, the Minneapolis-based consumer electronics chain ? reportedly the nation?s No. 1 Blu-ray Disc software retailer ? is allocating up to 30% of its entertainment retail space to Blu-ray, up from 10% in the 2008 holiday season.

 

In some stores, the Blu-ray Disc software section has been moved up front, replacing CDs, which have been pushed to the back.

 

The switch is significant as Best Buy typically generates 50% of its holiday foot traffic through entertainment, according to analysts. The chain, which has upped efforts to capture the nascent migration toward digital distribution of movies and TV shows, reported as a 23.4% decline in entertainment software sales in the most recent fiscal quarter.

 

Best Buy also is working with Universal Studios Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment in 13 so-called ?movie test stores? in Los Angeles and Chicago.

 

In those stores, studio retail representatives have created standalone kiosks and product placements showcasing newly released Blu-ray titles that are surrounded by secondary DVD releases and catalog fare, according to Diane Sherwood, Best Buy?s merchant director for movies.

 

Specifically, Fox created ?bull-nose? sections devoted to comedy, horror or drama characterized as ?islands of interest? designed to pull in customers. Universal created similar new-release fixtures in the middle of stores surrounded by catalog fare and highlighted by expressive signage.

 

?The customer has to walk through the catalog titles to get to the new releases,? Sherwood said. ?We are seeing increased consumer interest in that.?

 

She said Best Buy instituted a policy that lets consumers unable to find a title (Blu-ray or DVD) to order it, and it will be shipped to them for free.

 

Sherwood said the idea behind the ?test stores? is to help customers find the titles they?re interested in, in addition to getting them to ?interact? with catalog product.

 

?Our focus this holiday season is definitely Blu-ray and stepping customers up to [the format],? Sherwood said. ?We are definitely driving the industry in Blu-ray promotions.?

 

She said many Best Buy stores have ?re-flowed? entertainment departments to allow Blu-ray Disc titles to be displayed face-out (with the front cover showing) rather than library-style, with only the spine visible. This gives customers a ?better shopping? experience, Sherwood maintains.

 

In addition, home theater departments feature Blu-ray end-caps highlighting the steps and product required to experience HD movies in the home.

 

Sherwood said stores also have implemented genre-specific Blu-ray sections, in addition to carrying budget-priced Blu-ray titles selling for as little as $10. Freestanding bins offer DVD titles from $4.99.

 

?We keep wondering why the [blu-ray] adoption may not be exactly where everybody had hoped it would be,? she said. ?What we?re hearing [in focus groups and test surveys] is that consumers want to get the most out of their high-definition television. And Blu-ray delivers that.?

 

She said the in-store focus has moved beyond the Blu-ray log to signage changes in the home theater department, online, gaming and brochures spelling out the benefits of the HD format.

 

Sherwood said the traditional in-store Blu-ray content playing on TV displays has been altered to focus on educating consumers that the HDTV experience can be replicated in movies. The educational process includes training store employees in home theater training, signage and monthly updates in ?The DVD Insider? distributed monthly in stores.

 

?It?s not enough to just call out the Blu-ray logo and say that it?s a premium product,? Sherwood said. ?We need to land what the customer is asking for and solve their problems. It is really about making it an end-to-end experience.?

 

She said no decision had been made whether to emulate Wal-Mart, Target and Amazon by offering fourth-quarter new-release DVDs for $10.

 

?I hate to see prices dive so low,? Sherwood said.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thought this was interesting... Universal Home Video will start releasing "flipper" discs with both DVD and blu-ray content:

 

 

*Universal Bows Two-Sided Blu-ray, DVD Disc*

 

By : Chris Tribbey | Posted: 01 Dec 2009

 

In an industry first, Universal Studios Home Entertainment will start issuing double-sided discs with the Blu-ray Disc of a movie on one side and the standard DVD version on the other.

 

Universal is premiering the ?flipper? disc with the Jan. 19 release of The Bourne Identity, The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum, for $29.98 each. That date also marks the first time the three films have been available on Blu-ray individually.

 

Universal Studios Home Entertainment president Craig Kornblau said the flipper disc should help ease the consumer transition from DVD to Blu-ray Disc. At the same time, it should instill consumer confidence in the high-definition format by allowing consumers to buy titles now and convert to Blu-ray down the line.

 

?Universal?s flipper discs are the perfect way for consumers to future-proof their collections while still enjoying their favorite movies on all their existing DVD players,? Kornblau said. ?The flipper disc offers an easy way for viewers to convert to Blu-ray now or at any time in the future, confident in the fact they will be able to experience their home entertainment purchases in the highest quality picture and sound when they do.?

 

The move also can be seen as an acknowledgement that even consumers who have bought a Blu-ray Disc player, most likely to go with the home theater setup in their family or living room, still use DVD players in their bedrooms and their cars. As a result, even consumers who have Blu-ray Disc players still sometimes buy the DVD version of a movie because they can play it anywhere.

 

The challenge of portability for Blu-ray was put front and center by Mike Vitelli, EVP of Best Buy?s customer operating groups, during November?s Blu-Con 2.0 conference. Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for The NPD Group, said Universal?s flipper disc will be attractive to consumers with a Blu-ray player in the living room but a DVD player elsewhere.

 

Other studios are addressing the same issue through combo packs that include DVD and Blu-ray on separate discs.

 

Crupnick also noted that the retail price ? not Universal?s $29.98 SRP ? will have to compete with what?s offered for standard Blu-ray, ?so that consumers see a value in the packaging.

 

?I don?t think there's a willingness to pay a premium, especially for catalog,? he said.

 

Universal said it is evaluating opportunities for using the flipper disc for both catalog and new-release titles. The studio previously had employed the flipper disc concept with HD DVD, the failed rival high-def format the studio once championed.

 

Bourne Bonuses

 

Universal is packing both sides of the discs with exclusive content. All three will feature U-Control, the studio?s signature Blu-ray navigation feature accessible while the film runs, allowing for picture-in-picture; a ?Bourne Card Battle Strategy Game?; dossiers; location analyses; and Blackbriar and Treadstone files. All three films will include the BD Live-enabled My Scenes Sharing feature.

 

For The Bourne Identity, four featurettes explore the birth of the character by novelist and Jason Bourne creator Robert Ludlum. Both the DVD and Blu-ray sides will include deleted and extended scenes, alternate opening and ending scenes, a Ludlum profile, a screenwriter interview, interviews with the cast, a music video, commentary and other featurettes. The Bourne Supremacy will have a commentary, deleted scenes and a total of 11 featurettes. The Bourne Ultimatum will include a Blu-ray exclusive ?Be Bourne Spy Training? challenge, and both sides will offer deleted scenes, a commentary and five featurettes.

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I'm a bit suspect on the entire Blu-ray thing.

 

As someone who absolutely appreciates the visual quality of film (vs digital or vs a bad print) I find 80% of people don't really notice or even give a hoot. Blu-ray (and high definition for that matter) seem to be a "marketing tool" to simply charge more while creating an exclusive fad for the masses who don't really understand film & film quality.

 

If I wanted to spend more, I'd purchase a Criterion DVD over a BR.

 

I was in the store yesterday buying a replacement DVD player. The guys in Best Buy told me that within 2 years you won't be able to buy a regular DVD player, only Blu-ray players. They assured me the BR players can still play regular DVDs, so I should just buy one of those now.

Why? Most likely, the cheapie DVD player I bought will be dead in 5 years anyway. The entire thing just seems crazy.

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