Wednesday, 19 March 2014

How the bluray format profited from the Credit Crunch

The Blu Ray format should have been much bigger by now; after all it was designed to overtake DVD and take its place. I hardly know anybody who uses one. The quality of Blu Ray discs is undeniably better, picture is vastly improved, and sound and everything else you want from the home movie experience is much better with Blu Ray.

The problem isn’t with the players, they are smaller and more efficient than DVD players, and it isn’t with the technology. The Blu Ray boxes are smaller and easier to store, plus they look smarter on your shelf than the DVDs. So why isn’t Blu Ray the last word in consumer electronics? Market data insists people are buying it, but not in droves, as was perhaps hoped-for. The advertising is doing the same ‘hard sell’ routine it did with DVD over the VHS ‘tape’ format, and that worked before…So why has it not squashed the DVD format once and for all?

The answer is actually simple: ‘The timing.’ Blu Ray was launched against two tough-to-beat opponents: 1) The recession that hit worldwide and crippled the Western world in a manner not seen since the great depression of the 1930’s and 2) The DVD up-grade was only a few years old for most people. Many had only just finished re-buying their collection on DVD in the first place. Selling off (or simply chucking out) their VHS tapes was a long, gruelling experience (especially those of us who have a collection of experimental films or rare classics to replace) so, without the money to fund such an exercise, and with a weary cynicism creeping in (What will replace Blu Ray and when?) the public at large was hardly primed for the arrival of Blu Ray.

The thing is, people clearly want to buy it. Its selling beyond tech geeks and the Anime crowd, its gaining popularity, but I don’t think we’ll see a Blu Ray explosion on the level of the DVD one until they come down in price and do so considerably. DVD took years to reduce in price, and is now affordable and therefore the dominant form. Blu Ray cannot do what it was designed for until it gets cheaper or people get more money.  Whichever happens soonest.

An experiment, The Aston Martin DB9 is one of the best cars ever designed, it’s faster, sleeker and generally functions better than your car. Why don’t you own the Aston? If you could you would, but until you can, you won’t. Blu Ray gives you better quality pictures and sound than the DVD, and the HD standard that everyone needs to compliments their HDtv.