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Interest in Blu-ray Remains Lukewarm


While HDTV Resides in More Households, Few Likely to Purchase a Blu-ray Player within the Next Year

While Blu-ray was declared the big “winner” in the high definition format war last year, consumers may be slow to be part of the winning team. In fact, Americans are not jumping on board with any of the high definition DVD players. Just one in ten Americans (11%) own a HD DVD player while 7% own a Blu-ray player. Looking at the other devices for playing HD DVDs, 9% own a Sony PLAYSTATION3 (which plays Blu-ray ) and 3% have the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360 (which plays HD DVDs).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,401 U.S. adults surveyed online between April 13 and 21, 2009 by Harris Interactive.

While slow to catch on, ownership of all these high definition disc players is up from May 2008. Interestingly, while Blu-ray was the clear “format war” winner over HD DVD, sales of HD DVD players (11% in 2009 vs. 6% in 2008) are up over 2008 by about the same margin as Blu-ray players (7% in 2009 vs. 4% in 2008). Both were rivaled by the Sony PLAYSTATION3 (9% vs. 5%). However, only 3% purchased the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360, up from 1% in 2008. There is no expected surge of interest pending — only 7% of non-Blu-ray player owners report a likely purchase of a Blu-ray disc player within the next year, down from 9% in May 2008

Ownership of HDTVs
Looking at high definition television sets, almost half of consumers now report owning a high definition television (47%), up decidedly from May of 2008 (35%). HDTV ownership rises dramatically with household income (27% for those with less than $35K vs. 62% among those with more than $75K).

Are Blu-ray Player Owners Switching from Standard DVDs to Blu-ray Discs?
On average, consumers purchased approximately 6 Standard Format DVD’s in the last six months compared with 1 in HD format (HD DVD .7 vs. Blu-ray .5). However, plans to purchase Standard Format DVD’s is down by half compared to past six month purchases, while interest in HD DVD’s (.6) and Blu-ray (.7) are holding their own. Notably, HD DVD format purchases reflect the continued sales of the HD DVD players within the past year.

When Blu-ray player or PS3™ owners are asked specifically about standard versus Blu-ray format purchases, the results suggest a mixed bag of behaviors with some price sensitivity indicated:

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  • Only one quarter plan to switch to Blu-ray completely (25%), while one third of Blu-ray or PS3 owners claim that most of their movie purchases are now on Blu-ray format (32%);
  • Two in five are waiting for Blu-ray format prices to come down before they buy more (43%) — and a quarter buy Blu-ray regardless of price (25%); and,
  • Only 1 in 5 appear to be replacing or duplicating their existing standard format DVD library with Blu-ray format (21%), and over a third say they only buy movies on Blu-ray format that they currently do not own on standard definition (37%).

So What?
In addition to financial issues that may be slowing consumer adoption, Milton Ellis, Vice President and Senior Consultant, Harris Interactive Technology, Media, and Telecom Practice added, “Blu-ray also faces competition from alternative technologies such as cable, satellite, and the Internet. Consumers today can easily watch high definition TV channels or use the Internet or video-on-demand to access high definition movies. In the near future, access to high definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one’s favorite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray disc. One thing is for sure, the market will be highly competitive and consumers will have a wide variety of choices for their entertainment experience.”

This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between April 13 and 21, 2009, among 2,401 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

See full report (pdf)

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is a global leader in custom market research. With a long and rich history in multimodal research, powered by our science and technology, we assist clients in achieving business results. Harris Interactive serves clients globally through our North American, European and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms.

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