A report from Home Media Magazine, citing industry analyst Jim Bottoms of Futuresource, says 2011 sales of Blu-ray discs will outperform last year by 35%, while European sales will be up more than 40%. Worldwide he is predicting sales of 234 million units, a 45% increase over 2010.
Bottoms lists a number of factors in Blu-ray's recent success. In Europe, he says, German Blu-ray adoption is probably the biggest factor. But worldwide he says it is more about the gradual phasing out of DVD players in favor of Blu-ray by consumer electronics manufacturers.
"We?re getting to the price point now where CE manufacturers won?t make a DVD player and a Blu-ray player," Bottoms said. "There?s no point in having double inventory."
Despite this success, there is no reason to believe Blu-ray will ever be able to duplicate the success of DVD, which benefitted from unprecedented availability of catalog titles and TV content, a quantum leap in quality compared to VHS, as well as a span of decades between the introduction of VHS and DVD.
However, it's fair to say the reports of physical media's demise have been greatly exxagerated. While there is certainly room for services like Netflix and Hulu, for some content there is simply no substitute for ownership in the minds of consumers.
The additional capabilities of Blu-ray players to accept alternate media like USB drives and even stream video from both local and Internet sources seem to make it a reasonably good transition technology between the optical disc and whatever comes next.
I blame the pirates...everyone knows that piracy leads to sales. We need less piracy so those bastards at the MPAA get less funding from sales.