The Blu-ray bandwagon slowdown
One strength I saw in the Blu-ray Disc Association over the course of the so-called “format war” was that they refused to actually engage in the war. While HD DVD would attack Blu-ray, the BDA would stay their course as if they were already the victor. Obviously this was all an act.
When Warner went exclusive to Blu-ray in January the BDA was cheering and declaring (once again) that their format was the victor. When Toshiba finally threw in the towel they once again made sure everyone knew they had won.
But now that we’re months past “mission accomplished,” I don’t see the same marketing push as in the midst of the throes of war. There were those who said the war was actually good for the high-def market – maybe these same people agree with Howard Dean and think the drawn-out primary battle is good for the Democratic party. I disagree with them and think the war caused a large amount of ennui and consumers were put off to high-def opting instead for upconverting DVD players. But I would have to agree with these same people if the BDA companies do not continue with at least the same effort as when they were engaged in combat.
While Blu-ray sales are increasing by about 20% a week, and consumer awareness is at about 70%, I see a strikingly low amount of effort to really push the format as a new standard in video and audio reproduction. For a while there I saw TV adverts for movies as “Blu-ray High-Def and DVD” with the Blu-ray box in the forefront. Now it is the opposite with “DVD and Blu-ray” featuring the blue case behind the DVD one. I’ve even seen fewer Blu-ray ads on HD Theater and other HD channels who frequently aired specifically Blu-ray ads for months.
The good news is we do see growth in the market, and custom integrators have been moving clients to Blu-ray Disc throughout their homes instead of just the media room. Panasonic has also introduced a single integrated chip for Blu-ray reproduction that replaces up to four chips which should bring the price of players down significantly.
It is simply my contention that in the midst of the summer movie season we should be seeing a much larger push for the savior of home video. Put it on screen before the summer blockbusters – or if you’re Mark Cuban actually sell the Blu-ray version of the film they just saw to them as they’re leaving the theater. Their message should be, “Bring the theater experience home!” It’s just not the time to rest in their sound victory and let the market soften.