Whenever a new format is introduced, there are those who praise its arrival and those who predict its demise. And so it is currently with Blu-ray, home video’s hi-definition answer to standard-definition DVD. As someone for whom picture and sound quality is paramount, I am thrilled that Blu-ray exists and that this kind of quality has been brought to the home-theater experience.
It took a long time for audiences to embrace the letterboxing of films, but now, largely, they have. It was questionable as to whether or not people would/could embrace widescreen televisions. In a very short amount of time, they’ve become the norm. Now most widescreen TV’s sold today are hi-definition capable. Whether 720p or the even better 1080p, these TVs can display films with a clarity only previously known to projected celluloid.
This past Monday, the first Blu-Con event was held. It was not open to press and reporting directly on the discussions that took place was strictly forbidden. Blu-Con was described over at thedigitalbits.com as:
A gathering of industry insiders, where the various Hollywood executives, producers and technologists responsible for the Blu-ray format can gather to share their experiences, offer a status report on the format and brainstorm about its future possibilities.
Word has it the event went extremely well and the future of Blu-ray and the commitment of the studios to the format is something to smile about. Statistics released since Blu-Con support the rumors. Again, from The Digital Bits:
In news around the Net, Netflix CFO Barry McCarthy told an investor group on Monday that Blu-ray has exceeded the company’s year-end goal of 500,000 members renting the format. You can read more here at Home Media.
Also at Home Media, research firms NPD Group and DisplaySearch have confirmed that the Blu-ray format sold more than 147,000 standalone players during the week after Thanksgiving – more than three times the total of the format’s most successful sales week prior to that period. DisplaySearch is now predicting that nearly 4 million standalone Blu-ray players will be sold in 2009. That would certainly keep the format on pace with DVD in its first few years.
This is a great start to a format that deserves to be embraced. It truly is a movie-lovers dream come true.