Blu-ray Cheaper and More Popular, But Still Confusing To Most People

The gadget-sale tracking NPD says Blu-ray sales were up 72% from a year before, while dollars earned were up just 14% (players are getting cheaper)—yet most people still don't really know what Blu-ray is.

It's kinda funny to compare Q1 '09 (upside lots of Blu-ray players, downside recession) to Q1 '08 (more cash in the market, but Blu-ray spec was a mess), but the trends that emerged made sense: 400,000 standalone (i.e. not PS3) units sold this past quarter, up from the low 200,000s way back in early 2008. But the average selling price had dropped substantially, from nearly $400 to $261 now, and headed towards $214. Meanwhile, as most of our readers know, the spec has been ironed out and most players sold nowadays have Ethernet for interactive features. So they're getting cheaper and better.

What's sad is that the people who bought caved and bought Blu-ray players anytime before now were getting the shaft, as the best—or at least the coolest—ones are just coming out, players with Wi-Fi and all kinds of video-on-demand options. (Hopefully, people at least bought upgradeable players like so many are these days.)

Does this mean Blu-ray is going to crack some skulls come Christmas 2009? Not entirely sure there. Fifty-eight percent of people still aren't "very familiar" with Blu-ray. Besides, with all those great VOD apps, who needs actual discs? [NPD via Engadget]