Netflix Helps Blu-ray Make Gains

From the “How’s That Again?” Department: The market research firm NPD Group has released information from recent studies that indicates Blu-ray technology is starting to take hold and make up some of the ground lost by DVD sales. The company found that nearly half of all Sony PlayStation3 users watched at least one Blu-ray movie a month on their game consoles, and that 15% of U.S. consumers report using a Blu-ray player in the past six months, which is up from 9% last year.

Some of the factors that are cited by the growing interest in Blu-ray are better prices for both the discs and the players. Now that you can get a Blu-ray player for under $100, the absolute price difference between that and a DVD player does not appear to be as important to consumers. And disc prices have come down to about where DVD prices used to be, which helps. You can even rent Blu-ray discs now at your local Redbox kiosk for just $1.50 a night.

But perhaps the most surprising comment from NPD was this: “Digital services have also driven increased interest in Blu-ray players. In fact 50 percent of consumers who intend to buy Blu-ray set-top players in the next six months cited the desire to use available subscription video download services as a primary reason.” In other words, half of the people who are considering a Blu-ray player want to watch streaming Netflix on it. As I’ve been saying, that’s an easy way to add network connectivity to your existing HDTV and get Blu-ray support in the bargain.

When you look at it that way, it makes sense that Netflix can help sell Blu-ray players, but it’s still a bit strange.

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