Boom time for Blu-ray

Chris Forrester

While remembering that this time last year the packaged disc market was only just recovering from the shock withdrawal from the market by HD-DVD, the news that Blu-ray player sales are up an impressive 72% on the same period last year is still encouraging.

Retail costs are falling for basic but perfectly adequate players, while high-end manufacturers like Harman-Kardon are happy to endorse a top-of-the-range Blu-ray kit (their BDB-10 unit) at an expected retail price of 700.

According to a report just out from NPD Group, Blu-ray sales in the first quarter of 2009 have increased by 72% to over 400,000 standalone units (and thus not including PS3 consoles). The reason for the sales boost is due to an average drop in price for stand alone Blu-ray units. Best Buy in the US has units for sale ranging from prices as low as $200.

Blu-ray's increase in popularity is also coming alongside an increase in the sales of high-definition television sets. Moreover, Amazon is now discounting certain BD discs themselves for as low as $9.49. They are not top of the range titles but show how prices are trending.