With HD DVD out of the picture since Toshiba’s capitulation in mid-February, you’d think Blu-ray sales would have taken off. And yet, the New York Times’ Bits blog says sales are in fact so low that NPD is withholding exact numbers for fear of identifying retailers.
NPD did make some figures public, but as the NYT points out, they’re not pretty: sales of Blu-ray players apparently plummeted a staggering 40% from January to February, and they only went back up 2% in March. Meanwhile, sales of DVD players that can scale standard-definition video to HD resolutions grew 5% year-over-year last quarter, and sales of non-upscaling DVD players dropped 39%.
Those numbers aren’t hard to understand. The NYT quotes a different report, from ABI Research, which concludes that "many consumers may not see the picture quality difference between Blu-ray and standard DVDs." Up-scaling DVD players only cost $70 on average, too, while Blu-ray players are still priced upward of $300—and not all of them have the Internet connectivity required for some Blu-ray extras. NPD believes Blu-ray’s future "won’t be clear" until the next holiday season, when players should dip to the neighborhood of $200.