According to a report from Strategy Analytics, “The Blu-ray Disc Association has objected to claims that these services deliver high definition picture and sound equal to that delivered by Blu-ray Disc, and suggests that these comparisons are irresponsible and misleading to consumers.”
The research company believes that satellite companies are competing with cable and IPTV providers, not Blu-ray Disc. This is partly true but now that DISH and DIRECTV are evolving their broadcasts into 1080p they can stand up to Blu-ray’s quality. And while fiber-optic providers Verizon and AT&T do have great HD quality that surpasses that of many cable company’s, they aren’t broadcasting 1080p so they are obviously not competitors in the full HD arena.
Blu-ray has the best high-definition quality, period. But pricing offers a challenge for Blu-ray Disc. Recent predictions say Sony will offer a Blu-ray Disc player for under $200 before the end of 2008. That would be a great move for Sony because if you have a player at home you will want to buy discs even if they are a bit pricey. This doesn’t change the fact that Blu-ray is still too expensive for the mass consumer. Get the cost of gas down to $3 a gallon and you may see some more action on the hi-def front.
However, the challenge is not just found in the pricing. I think the real challenge for Sony is facing downloadable HD. You have to look at what has happened to music CDs. As soon as it became possible for songs to download at an acceptable speed and price you saw most record store chains close their doors. Downloading music is too easy, to cool, and too affordable. Not too mention that a digital download, although susceptible to being erased, deleted or corrupted, is still much more stable than a disc.
The race for domination of high-definition home media is on. This time it’s price against speed. But no matter who wins I’ll still be waiting for my Lord of the Rings extended trilogy, in a nice fancy box, on Blu-ray Disc.