Internet Connectivity Propelling Blu-ray Sales

Sales of Blu-ray players have begun to pick up, and you can thank Internet connectivity and changing TV watching patterns for the shift.

Shipments of the players tripled in 2009, though they still lag far behind DVD players, mainly because they're far more expensive. But as more people seek new and different ways to watch their favorite television shows and movies, whether via Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Boxee or other means, the players' network connectivity becomes more attractive and makes the price more scalable, according to a report by In-Stat.

Some key findings of the report:
  • Shipments of network-enabled Blu-ray players/recorders will approach 80 million units by 2013. (Still slightly less than DVD players by volume, but quadruple the revenue because of the retail price.)
  • 18% of US survey respondents with at least some interest in purchasing a Blu-ray player cited cost as a barrier.
  • Japan dominates the market for Blu-ray recorders. Europe is the largest revenue market for Blu-ray players.
  • The key semiconductor providers supporting the Blu-ray and DVD player/recorder market include Broadcom, NEC, MediaTek, Sunplus and Zoran.
Several brands of Blu-ray player already are able to stream video directly from Netflix, eliminating the need for consumers to connect a computer to their television. Internet connectivity also potentially will enable the players to stream video from other sources, such as YouTube, Vimeo and Boxee, the latter of which offers its own TV box to stream its offerings.

So while the content producers (the networks and studios) and the content providers (the cable and satellite companies) are living in fear of consumers skipping the traditional means of getting their entertainment, the device manufacturers aren't too concerned. Especially seeing as most manufacturers of DVD players also produce Blu-ray players.

"The consumer electronics makers are really the only ones who don't have anything to lose if consumers switch," Forrester Research analyst James McQuivey told Advertising Age. "Everyone else is conflicted."

Tags:  TV, Television, Blu-ray