Friday, February 08, 2008
As the hold that Sony's Blu-ray high def DVD format has on the market continues to get stronger in the face of opposition from the competing HD-DVD format, there are a number of things that Sony could do in order to secure a sure victory. One of them is lowering the cost of its Blu-ray disc players.
There's a lot of evidence to support the idea that this move would make for a sure victory over HD-DVD. Most of this evidence comes in the form of sales statistics. Right now, despite the fact that Blu-ray players cost roughly twice as much as HD-DVD players, there are just as many Blu-ray disc players in American homes as there are HD-DVD players. When you add in the number of Sony's Play Station 3 video game consoles- which also function as Blu-ray players- the number of Blu-ray players in American homes is significantly higher than the number of HD-DVD players out there. Combine those statistics with the fact that Blu-ray discs have outsold HD-DVD's in the past couple of months by a margin of over two to one, and it becomes pretty obvious that consumers as a whole like the Blu-ray format more than the HD-DVD format.
There are several reasons why the Blu-ray format may be more popular among consumers than the HD-DVD format. The most obvious technical difference is that the Blu-ray format can encode a lot more data onto each disc than the HD-DVD format can. This translates into longer movies and more bonus features that can be included on Blu-ray discs. Since both High Def DVD formats are also optical discs just like DVD's and CD's, there are plenty of computer applications for the technology as well. More data storage capacity translates into being able to deliver more software on each Blu-ray disc than on an HD-DVD disc. Blu-ray is also a better choice for data archiving than HD-DVD. Specifically, the HD-DVD format can only store fifteen gigabytes of data per side of the disc while Blu-ray can store twenty five gigabytes of data per side of the same sized disc! With that kind of a difference, it could be argued that even if HD-DVD was the winner of the format war, it would end up being replaced by something like Blu-ray anyway. Using Blu-ray now, just skips that step.
With the overall popularity of Blu-ray, Sony could secure its win in the format war by lowering the prices of its players. Losses of profits from the players could more than be made up for in coming years by licensing and royalties from having a monopoly on the high def DVD market. Also, as the cost of producing Blu-ray players goes down, Sony will eventually be able to profit on sales of them as well. Unfortunately Sony has been unwilling to make that effort so far, but another company called Funai will force the price of Blu-ray players down by introducing their own Blu-ray players onto the market that will cost around five hundred dollars a piece- a figure much more in line with what HD-DVD players cost.
It's interesting that a little known company could secure a victory in the format war for Sony by doing what Sony has so far refused to do for itself.