Cnet: Just one year ago, HD DVD was selling tons of $99 players, Blu-ray players cost an unreasonable $400 or more, and we were advising buyers to hold off going Blu because the format wasn't quite ready yet. Now we're already wondering if Blu-ray is a commodity. It's a great illustration of how far the technology has come in just one year.
When a product is referred to as a commodity, that generally means that the differences between brands is so small that buyers treat all brands as essentially the same. For example, many would consider DVD players a commodity, and to a large extent we'd agree--aside from high-end models that offer exceptional DVD playback, most people don't care about the differences between players. That's we we've mostly stopped reviewing them.
If you look at our ratings for standalone Blu-ray players, it's easy to see that we clearly don't think Blu-ray is a commodity yet. Not all players are Profile 2.0 compliant, many don't have onboard decoding for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, operation speed still varies significantly, and quite a few players don't have perfect video quality when outputting a standard 1080p signal.