US Q1 Blu-ray player sales dive despite HD DVD’s demise

By Chris Nicholls

NEW YORK: The end of the high definition disc format war has done little to ignite Blu-ray player sales in the US, with sales actually dropping earlier this year, according to US market research company the NPD Group.

In a report, NPD said standalone player unit sales dropped 40 per cent from January to February and only recovered two per cent from February to March. While HD DVD was still available in those months, sales dropped 13 per cent from January to February and 65 per cent from February to March.

"That standalone Blu-ray players haven’t picked up significantly from HD DVD’s loss shows that few consumers were dissuaded primarily by the ‘format war’," said NPD director of industry analysis, Ross Rubin.

"When we surveyed consumers late last year, an overwhelming number of them said they weren’t investing in a new next-generation player because their old DVD player worked well and next-generation players were too expensive. It’s clear from retail sales that those consumer sentiments are still holding true.”

Another reason for the drop could be the easy availability of upscaling DVD players, the report said, with unit sales up over five percent in the first quarter of 2008, compared to 2007. Sales of non-upscaling DVD players declined 39 percent for the same period.



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