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Wednesday, 28 October 2009 06:51

Blu-ray players may sell as low as $49 on Black Friday

Written by Jon Worrel

Image

Manufacturers to sell out first-generation units

It’s exactly
one month before Black Friday 2009, and many experienced shoppers around the globe and particularly in the US have already grown anxious in hopes of finding interesting sale tidbits around the internet. According to research performed by NPD Group, a consumer analyst market research panel of whom we participate with occasionally, the Black Friday holiday shopping season this year could see first generation Blu-ray players with basic functionality having viable selling points as low as around $49.

The market for Blu-ray players has been experiencing a positive incline ever since Toshiba and company’s highly acclaimed HD-DVD format faced a super-sudden-death attack back at CES in January 2008. Nevertheless, the global Blu-ray market has yielded to higher adoption rates and more affordability with even some of the more advanced feature-packed, BD profile 2.0, HDMI 1.3a players going for as low as around $150 over the past few months. A retrospective view of current situation implies that sales are thriving and consumers in the home entertainment market are adopting the format at a steady rate. Despite the conflicting analytic debates of yesteryear and a lack of multisource research data, we are positive that the market this coming season will encourage adoption more than any other point in the format’s history.

In a recent interview with Video Business, Ross Rubin, NPD Group’s Director of Industry Analysis, stated “it’s conceivable we could see a $49 Blu-ray player on Black Friday, but I think we’ll see more $99 deals. Anything is possible. We’ve seen very strong growth in Blu-ray players this year. It has been a bright spot in a very gloomy industry landscape. Nearly all other electronics device categories have been down, such as digital cameras and MP3 players.”

Rubin went on to add that
Blu-ray unit sales currently make up 15-percent of overall High Definition and Standard Definition home video player purchases in the United States. At this rate, he expects unit sales to hike to 50-percent in 2010 if current demand and pricing trends remain steady.

On another note, several manufacturers have been in talk about selling off or significantly reducing back stock of older generation players, particularly those sporting BD profiles 1.0 and 1.1. During Black Friday, it is highly likely that these low-end, basic units will be the ones to go for $99 and $49 respectively. Regardless of abundant feature support, we expect that consumers will still adopt these older units as they converge their library of movie collections into a single collection of high definition Blu-ray titles or consolidate older DVD collections into the newer format as the prices of older Blu-ray titles continue to decline and go on sale.

If this year is going to be anything like last year, Black Friday in the states will consist of a mass majority of consumers picking up at least 3 or 4 titles on Blu-ray, while a larger portion of them consume the aforementioned back stock budget players and leave the store with giddy grins of happiness. It will be interesting to see how the recession affects this year’s home theater sales in comparison to the 2008 season right after market collapse. Regardless, it’s going to be one hell of a campout for the experienced individuals and crowds.
Last modified on Wednesday, 28 October 2009 11:15

Jon Worrel

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