Sony: Blu-ray Battle Has Just Begun
Blu-ray Triumphed Over HD-DVD but Must Now Conquer Standard DVDs
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 3/5/2008 7:15:00 AM
Blu-ray, the HD optical-disc format created by Sony, definitively triumphed over the competing HD-DVD format after Toshiba’s decision last month to stop making HD-DVD players. But that doesn’t mean the HD-disc war is over, according to Sony Electronics president and chief operating officer Stan Glasgow.
The real challenge, Glasgow said, will be convincing consumers that the improved resolution of Blu-ray video over standard DVDs -- 1080-line progressive (1080p) versus 480-line progressive (480p) -- is worth investing hundreds of dollars on a new Blu-ray player and buying significantly more expensive Blu-ray movie titles.
“The battle really begins now,” said Glasgow, who held a press briefing Wednesday morning at the Sony Building in midtown Manhattan. “We’ve got to convince people of the value of high-definition.”
Glasgow conceded that upscaling technology used to make standard DVDs look better on HDTV sets has significantly improved, which makes selling Blu-ray a tougher proposition for Sony and other Blu-ray backers, including Panasonic and Pioneer.
But he added that Blu-ray’s resolution still represents a “significant difference” for consumers with 1080p displays. Sony is also adding features such as Internet connectivity to its Blu-ray decks, which Glasgow expects to drop in price to the “$300 range” this year.
Sony’s job may get easier as more consumers buy 1080p displays, with Blu-ray currently the only source of available 1080p content -- broadcast and cable networks broadcast HD in either 720-line-progressive (720p) or 1080-line interlace (1080i).
On that note, Glasgow said roughly one-half of the HDTV displays Sony sold last year were 1080p, compared with lower-cost 720p models. That doubled the share from 2006, when only about 25% of the HDTV sets Sony sold were higher-resolution 1080p displays.
Overall, Sony had “one of the strongest holiday seasons in history,” and it is continuing to record strong sales of its consumer-electronic products, Glasgow said, despite declarations from legendary investor Warren Buffett and others that the U.S. economy is currently in a recession. However, Sony is trying to stay nimble from a manufacturing point of view.
“Supply-chain work is critical, to be able to sense demand in the marketplace and adjust production accordingly,” Glasgow added.
I understand why you might not want to make the investment in blu-ray yet until the prices come down, but to suggest that upconverted DVDs are anywhere near the quality of a blu-ray disc is just wrong.
The main issue for me is the price of the movies themselves. I already have a player,but at a 10 dollar premium for a large portion of the movies. It's just not enticing enough for me yet. I would be willing to pay a 5 dollar premium, but no more.
Scott Sullivan - 3/7/2008 8:53:00 AM EST
if $300 is the best price they can come up with they can keep them and i will just buy about 20 dvds with that money. dvd is just fine for me on my hdtv. my player now upconverts nicely and you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between hd and dvd. consumers are not made of money so the difference has to be more noticable to get us to give up our hard-earned cash.
dale kaskey - 3/6/2008 3:08:00 PM EST
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