Disney Goes Slow on BluRay

According to a post on TVPredictions, Disney CEO Robert Iger stated last week that neither Cars nor Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest would be released on BluRay this year. This is potentially embarrassing for Sony as Disney is a member of the BluRay camp.

According to the report, Iger predicted that “adoption of next-gen DVD will be slower to market than standard-definition DVD.”

It looks as though Iger and I agree. With DVD recorders selling for less than $100 these days, and upconverting DVD players making standard DVDs look great, it’s going to be a tough sell to get the mainstream consumer to spend five to 10 times as much for a blue-laser DVD player. At this point, the new titles are trickling out from the studios, with maybe a dozen or so being released each month in each format. It looks as though there are slightly more HD DVD titles being released — a few more each month — than BluRay, but at this point, I don’t think the difference is enough to make a huge competitive difference.

I’m more convinced than ever that the wild cards in this contest are the game consoles. Can Sony produce enough BluRay drives for the millions of PS3s they hope to sell? Can they afford to lose a lot of money on those drives in order to keep the price competitive? Has the Microsoft XBox 360 stolen an insurmountable lead on the PS3 by coming to market first? (Just when will Sony ship the PS3?) And if today’s reports of a $200 external HD DVD for the XBox prove to be accurate, then will Sony be able to compete at all?

The pointers continue to swing in HD DVD’s favor, but I agree with Iger that it’s still too early to call this race.