The Hollywood Reporter reports that Blu-ray is seeing explosive growth in Europe. Just two months after reaching the one million unit mark in movie sales they’d reached the two million mark. Media Control Gfk International reports movie sales total 2.4 million units, accounting for 79% of high-def discs sold to date across Europe. The sales period before Christmas was especially strong, with over 500,000 BD discs sold, besting HD DVD 3:1. BD is also growing faster than DVD did after launch:
“DVD-Video was first introduced into Western Europe in 1997, and the following year some 230,000 DVD players were installed and 2 million discs were sold through,” the group said. “In comparison, Blu-ray Disc made its first tentative launch in Western Europe in 2006, and the following year some 3.2 million PlayStation 3 (PS3) consoles and 34,000 standalone players were installed, while 2.3 million Blu-ray discs sold through.”
In hardware news, What Hi-Fi? Sound And Vision reports on Harmon Kardon’s Blu-ray plans. At a product launch in Munich Harmon Kardon announced that they’ll be releasing a BD player at the IFA Show in Berlin in September, priced between Â£450-Â£500 (the site is in the UK). Details have yet to be announced, but HK also stated that they will add additional BD systems to their lineup, including an all-in-one system, next year.
More incredibly, HK says they’re working on a high-end HDD/BD recorder. The specs are pretty extreme:
Harman Kardon is also working on a Blu-ray/HDD recorder that can record up to eight channels of TV. The DVC 600 digital video entertainment centre (above) has a 1 Terabyte hard drive, twin built-in digital TV tuners and can record up to eight standard- or high-definition TV channels simultaneously.
What’s more, a ninth channel can be recorded in the background using the manual or automatic timeshift function, and a tenth channel can be viewed at the same time. Quite when you might have time to watch all your recordings is another matter.
And Home Media Magazine had some kind words for Blu-ray from Lionsgate president and Co-COO Steve Beeks:
Beeks said Lionsgate Blu-ray revenue in January was about seven times higher than last year. The studio has already shipped as many BD releases this year as in entire 2007.
â€œWe expect the industry to unite behind Blu-ray by the summer, which should drive the current HD market to triple in size from $300 million in 2007 to more than $1 billion this year,â€ he said. â€œIt is exciting again to have a true growth opportunity in home entertainment as we expect Blu-ray revenue to be largely incremental in the near term.â€
Things continue to look pretty good for Blu-ray.