Blu-ray Fends Off Competition, Heads into Mega Holiday

Blu-ray has shown perseverence in the face of massive competition.

By , Contributor

USA Today doesn't like Blu-ray, but they ignore logistics when arguing comparisons to DVD or streaming.

Blu-ray is six years old, and 42 million US households have Blu-ray players of some type. When DVD entered this juncture of its life, over half of US homes had adopted the disc-based format.

Finding that as a fault of Blu-ray is ludicrous, because it doesn't consider environment. Seeing Blu-ray in homes, certainly in that number being viewed by some as a negative, shows consumers of media are better equipped, smarter, and more open to new technologies than we give them credit for.

DVD sprang to life in the late '90s, wherein the only competitor was waning VHS: archaic, fragile technology on slim legs. DVD was fresh air that produced widescreen video, awesome resolution, and special features at a solid price. It was Laserdisc, but less bulky and consumer friendly.

Then comes Blu-ray, churning up the market in 2006 as an incomplete competitor against not only DVD, but red-laced HD DVD, a Microsoft joint. Studios warred and Blu-ray won despite instituting features that rendered early players obsolete.

Then came Netflix, which in its infancy was a boon to DVD. But, when Blu-ray rolled around, it began to compete against physical media with streaming options. Blu-ray has persevered, and as another red giant realizes the immense cost and business wars associated with accessing streaming content, they've quietly shifted attention back to the blue laser tech.

Now, Blu-ray is almost competing with itself. Players come equipped as value packed with a multitude of streaming options. UltraViolet has seen a rocky roll-out as a cross-studio attempt to snag the digital consumer. Cases are plastered with stickers for the service, and some studios (like Fox) are ignoring Blu-ray all together at first. They're launching Prometheus (and others) before Blu-ray on UV and other digital services.

Consumers still have a clear physical media attachment though. That's great. It's only going to take the downfall of one major service for people to learn what a fragile ecosystem digital actually is. Hopefully, it's not too late before that happens.

Until then, 42 million households are riding on Blu-ray for their entertainment. It's versatile, it's high quality, and it's not just for the audio/videophile in your home. Somewhere down the line, the marketing is working. With a loaded holiday season that crams Indiana Jones, E.T., Lawrence of Arabia, plus mega new releases (Avengers, Dark Knight Rises) into the Blu-ray catalog, this could be a banner year.

If that line-up doesn't convince people to take the plunge, then maybe USA Today is onto something.

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Matt Paprocki is a 13-year veteran of the video game, movie, and home media scene. He has written thousands of reviews, has been published on a variety of websites, and contributes his thoughts daily on a diverse range of topics.

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