VB: Worldwide Blu-ray Disc set-top player unit sales will outpace most other consumer electronics items over the next four years as the high-definition disc machines gain popularity in the developing world while being bundled with HDTVs in the U.S., according to a report released this week.
Blu-ray player unit sales, not including Sony PlayStation 3 game consoles, will total about 5 million globally this year, up from about 800,000 Blu-ray players and 800,000 players for Toshiba's competing HD DVD format sold in 2007, according to Kurt Scherf, principal analyst at Dallas-based Parks Associates. Annual Blu-ray player unit sales will jump eightfold within four years to about 40 million, Scherf said.
The forecast is consistent with many electronics and entertainment analysts who have said the victory of Sony's Blu-ray format over HD DVD earlier this year will cause a surge in demand starting this year. Last month, NPD Group unit DisplaySearch said Blu-ray player unit sales will triple this year, double next year and, by 2010, unseat PlayStation 3 as the most popular hardware source of the high-definition disc format.