An array of Blu-ray news today.
Opus Arte, a distributor specializing in ‘high-art’ titles (Swan Lake, Strauss: Die Fledermaus, and the like), has previously been exclusively HD DVD. However, they’re going neutral, adding Blu-ray Disc to their high-def releases. Their first Blu-ray title, Mendelssohn’s A Midsummers Night’s Dream, previously released on HD DVD last November, will hit in March. Via High-Def Digest.
Sharp announced a new generation of Blu-ray laser diodes which will support 4x-6x BD recording. A 3.3mm version will be used in laptop drives, and a 5.6mm version in desktop drives. Mass production begins in April, with a monthly production capacity of 700,000 diodes. Products using these new diodes should hit in the second half of the year. The Sharp press release, via I4U, by way of Blu-ray.com.
It looks like Spain is really turning Blu. Previously distributors Manga Films, Filmax and Tripictures went Blu, and now another Spanish distributor, Cameo, can be added to the list. They’re currently preparing a version of the BBC’s Planet Earth for the Spanish market. Additionally, the largest Spanish online movie retailer, DVDgo, has added a Blu-ray tab to their site. (No HD DVD tab.) From PlanetaHD, via Blu-ray.com.
Signamtek has announced a less expensive standalone Blu-ray player for the European market. The SBR-1000 is expected to retail for under â‚¬250 when it hits the street in April. That should make it the new low bar in BD player pricing for Europe. From Presence PC via Blu-ray.com.
Hollywood in High-Def has an interview with big name producer/writer Dean Devlin about why he prefers Blu-ray. Via Blu-ray.com.
Finally, The Register reports on a survey done by PriceGrabber.com about high-def player adoption. Their survey of 2185 people concluded that the main issue limiting adoption has been the high prices of BD players, with 56% of those interested in going Blu holding out for lower prices. While only 19% said the format war was holding them back. 24% said they were interested in buying Blu-ray in the next 12 months, while 21% were interested in HD DVD. 14% were interested in an “integrated video game console” – which, today, means only the PS3.
I take these results with a huge grain of salt. The methodology of the survey isn’t shared, but keep in mind PriceGrabber is a comparative shopping site used mainly by those looking for the best price on an item (I use it myself). So if this survey was of PG users, it is unsurprising that they’d cite price as their main concern. But for the market at large, this has clearly not been the case. Blu-ray continues to outsell HD DVD, despite the price advantage HD DVD enjoys. And BD sales spiked after Warner’s announcement removed most of the uncertainty from the market. Of course lower prices will attract more buyers to high-def players overall. But price does not appear to currently be the deciding factor, or HD DVD would be besting Blu-ray – and quite the opposite is happening. Also, I think this survey must have been done before Warner’s announcement. I have a hard time believing nearly equal percentages of respondents said they’re looking at BD and HD DVD post-announcement. Thanks to reader Morac for the pointer to the article.