In-Stat expects that while Blu-ray players (not including game consoles) will reach the level of millions of units shipping per year, it will never reach the level of DVD player unit shipments.
The advantage of the PS3 was too much for the backers of HD DVD to overcome as Blu-ray discs outsold HD-DVD discs even though Blu-ray players did not sell as well as HD-DVD players. Warner Bros' switch to Blu-ray exclusively caused retailers like Best Buy and Wal-mart to choose Blu-ray over HD-DVD rather than offer both, making it impossible for HD-DVD to be successful.
Now that there is only one high-definition optical disc format on the market, what is the future?
Without HD-DVD offering low-priced playback products, we expect the Blu-ray manufacturers will compete among themselves but price cuts will not be as severe. In-Stat expects to see US$249 pricing in 2008 for Blu-ray players in time for the holiday season if not before. Future price declines will come from lower component prices, increased manufacturing volumes, and eventually more low-cost manufacturers. At some point, as prices come closer to those of upconverting DVD players, top tier manufacturers may stop offering DVD players in favor of Blu-ray players.
Will consumers care? Many consumers who have HDTV sets are not watching HDTV signals on them. The industry has a long way to go to convince consumers that they should upgrade for a better picture. We remain of the opinion that Blu-ray must promote interactive features of the content on the disc. Consumers must be made to feel that they missed an important piece of the movie watching experience by not viewing the Blu-ray disc content. So far many consumers do not feel that way about viewing in standard definition as opposed to high definition, so they will continue to watch DVDs especially with Blu-ray disc prices higher than DVD.