Saturday, January 17, 2009

Blu-ray Maybe Too Late

Sometimes the spoils of war are too late and surpassed far easier than they were won. Last year Sony appeared to have won a bloody video format war with Toshiba and everything seemed to be going Blu-ray. They had won the endorsement of Hollywood studios and major retailers and all that was now needed was for the consumers to buy Blu-ray players.That hasn't happened in the numbers expected. 10 million Blu-ray players have been bought but this is only 10% of the total US television market.

A number of factors have influenced the disappointing take-up. There is the credit crunch and consumer spending confidence, the fact that unless you are watching on a large screen the quality gain is not appreciable, there are cheaper alternatives and finally there is the library reinvestment which is not a small cost.

When we look at eink and ebook readers no one will dispute the quality of the technology to read in adverse conditions, no one will dispute the devices tick readers functional boxes. However the content still isn’t there, the devices lack colour, the prices of both devices and readers isn’t right and finally we have a recession. Maybe by the time the market really takes off we will be in the world of the mobile, content may be free of at least restrictive DRM and we won’t be downloading and buying libraries, but renting to read on demand and online.

Some would suggest that even an elephant has a shorter gestation period than an ebook reader.

No comments: