VB:-Despite a sinking economy, studios predict healthy holiday Blu-ray Disc spending due to fast declining hardware pricing, according to participants at Tuesday's High-Def Conference here.
Blu-ray players have fallen to sub-$200 pricing and should hit the $150 mark by Black Friday, effectively widening the customer base from early adopter to mainstream, noted studios during the event, sponsored by Home Media Magazine.
Currently, the U.S. Blu-ray install base totals 1.5 million set-tops and 5.5 million PlayStation 3 consoles. Between now and the end of 2008, that combined set-top/PS3 install base should grow more than 40% to 10 million units, according to Paramount Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment. Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment is even more bullish, projecting a year-end base of 11 million to 12 million Blu-ray players.
This expanding Blu-ray penetration is moving at a quicker pace than the uptake for standard-definition players between 1998 and 1999, noted Danny Kaye, Fox's executive VP of global research and technology strategy.