When Blu-ray was officially released in 2006 it set the standard for home video entertainment. With the highest definition available, Blu-ray was welcomed with open arms by film enthusiasts worldwide. Yet as the years passed sales of Blu-ray never surpassed that of DVD’s as was expected. Instead the Blu-ray stalled and has not seen much improvement since. Although the Blu-ray disc and player achieve the highest quality of definition there are multiple reasons as to why Blu-ray is not exceedingly popular.
The Cost of Blu-ray Deters From Avid Collecting
Blu-ray popularity is directly affected by overall price. An average Blu-ray player will cost double that of a DVD player. Many of the low-end models have notable glitches which make paying more inevitable. While the average Blu-Ray player costs $300 the average disc costs $30. You can imagine the increases costs in blu-ray replication. A newly released DVD costs an average of $20 and often has the same special features as the Blu-ray disc. This makes Blu-ray more of a collectors item for enthusiasts or for those willing to pay more for their favorite film. Many people do not see such an improvement that warrants a $10 increase. This is especially the case in comedies or other films which do no utilize special effects.
The Rapid Acceleration of Technology Makes Blu-ray’s Future Uncertain
Since the inception of Blu-ray there has been a dramatic increase in home entertainment technologies. Companies such as Netflix, Amazon and iTunes are quickly relegating discs the way of the dinosaurs. For low cost, these services will instantly stream media to a computer or television in your living room. The quality of instantly downloaded media has also dramatically increased. The quality is quickly becoming on-par with that of a DVD or Blu-ray disc. Downloading allows viewers to access entertainment instantly and for a fraction of the cost. As technology continues to grow there will be less of a need for physical media such as Blu-ray discs.
Blu-ray Discs Are Too Limiting
Since many people do not currently own a Blu-ray player, it can become a burden in a social setting. It becomes impossible to bring a Blu-ray disc to watch at a friend’s house thereby limiting its value. Because every household in America owns at least one DVD player, the DVD format has become the de facto standard of video entertainment. DVD’s are also playable in most modern computers or laptops making them a much more accepted format.
Too Little, Too Late
Blu-ray has failed to become the standard because people can’t see its overall benefit over its high cost and lack of compatibility. The increase in quality and sound is not enough to convince people to spend an extra $10 or more per disc. The machines themselves are quite expensive which also deters many from investing at all. The majority of consumers are no longer willing to replace their movie collections with yet another distribution platform. (Remember the cost and time spent updating your VHS collection to DVD?) As technology continues to evolve there will be less of a need for physical media. Digital downloading and streaming will inevitably surpass Blu-ray as a distribution medium preventing Blu-ray from becoming any more popular than it is today. Blu-ray growth is stalled between people who are not willing to invest in new players and new media, and users who wholeheartedly embrace the new digital downloading and streaming technologies. Consequently, while Blu-ray will continue to be the darling of only the Hollywood movie industry, it will sputter along for 2-3 more years before finally dying out completely. Blu-ray turns out to be a technology that nobody was asking for.