NEWS29 June 2009

Blu-Ray Association disputes Harris Poll findings

News North America Technology

US— The Blu-Ray Disc Association (BDA) is disputing the findings of a Harris Interactive survey claiming that consumers have been slow to adopt Blu-Ray despite the withdrawal of the rival HD DVD format.

According to figures from the Harris Poll, 11% of US households have an HD DVD player, while 7% have a Blu-Ray player. 9% have a PlayStation 3 (which plays Blu-Ray discs) and 3% have the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360.

But the BDA said Harris’s findings were “highly questionable” and that its estimate of the number of HD DVD households was “grossly inaccurate”.

Citing sales data and projections from Adams Media Research, the BDA said that just 0.3% of US homes with TVs had an HD DVD player and that the number will have shrunk to 0.2% by the end of this year.

Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, said: “The media industry has long known you can’t trust the average survey respondent to correctly identify the high-tech devices in their homes… HD DVD machines are long gone from store shelves and household penetration is shrinking dramatically.”

Harris concluded from its results that “Americans are not jumping on board with any of the high-definition DVD players”, but the BDA said: “The sales-based numbers and the dramatic increase in Blu-Ray Disc hardware and software sales clearly indicate that the format has in fact reached critical mass.”

The two rival formats existed alongside each other for a few years, but HD DVD struggled to get the support of studios and distributors and was officially discontinued in 2008.

Harris said in its press release: “While Blu-Ray was declared the big ‘winner’ in the high-definition format war last year, consumers may be slow to be part of the winning team. It said there is “no expected surge of interest pending”, with only 7% of those who do not own Blu-ray reporting a likely purchase in the next year, down from 9% a year ago.

Senior consultant Milton Ellis concluded: “Consumers today can easily watch high-definition TV channels or use the internet or video-on-demand to access high definition movies. In the near future, access to high-definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one’s favourite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-Ray player and Blu-Ray disc.”

Harris Interactive had not returned calls seeking comment at the time of publication.