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5/14/2008
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Consumers Cold To Blu-Ray Players

Only 9% of non-Blu-ray player owners say they are likely to buy a Blu-ray disc player within the next year, according to a Harris Interactive survey.

The high-definition DVD format war is over, but U.S. consumers remain unenthusiastic toward players supporting the winner Blu-ray, a survey showed.

Nearly seven in 10 people polled by Harris Interactive knew that Blu-ray had beaten HD DVD, and nearly a quarter of them said they had been waiting for the rivalry to play itself out before buying an HD player. By April, however, few of the respondents had actually bought a player.

Based on an online poll of more than 2,500 U.S. adults, Harris found that nearly nine in 10 people own a standard DVD player, but fewer than one in 10 reported owning devices available today for playing HD content, namely, HD DVD or Blu-ray disc players, Sony PlayStation 3, and the external HD DVD player for Microsoft's Xbox 360. These numbers are surprising, given that more than a third of consumers overall report owning an HDTV.

Furthermore, only 9% of non-Blu-ray player owners say they are likely to buy a Blu-ray disc player within the next year, even when they are made fully aware that the format is the definitive technology for players of HD content going forward, Harris found. Notably, the percentage of HDTV owners likely to buy Blu-ray players is only slightly higher at 14%. Currently, about 10% of HDTV owners also have a Blu-ray disc player.

Price could be a contributor to the lackluster response to Blu-ray. While players of the format still average above $300, standard players only cost between $80 and $150, which include an up-converter to generate a higher quality picture that older standard players.

There's also the consideration of being able to download HD videos. "While this is likely to catch on more with the technophiles than with the mass market due to the complexity of downloading, it does provide another alternative," Joan Barten Kline, VP of Harris media and entertainment practice, said in a statement released Tuesday.

Sony-backed Blu-ray won the format war after Toshiba said this year it would no longer lead the HD DVD camp, and discontinued making HD DVD players and recorders. The company had sold 1 million players and recorders worldwide, including sales for drives for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

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