Good question. Maybe yes and maybe no. With the demise of HD DVD, some people think that just because the so-called HD Format War is over with Blu-ray the "de facto" winner that it's a done deal for Blu-ray. Well, I say " not so fast. There are a lot of mitigating factors to consider before we can say that Blu-ray will succeed or not. First and foremost, DVD is alive and well. Over 10 years ago, the jump from VHS to DVD astounding with DVD being about 10 times better picture and sound than videotape.
Most people are quite happy with DVD. DVD is a shinny silver disc that everyone is familiar with. It looks just like a CD. And, the prices of players today start around $50 or less. A decent upconverting DVD player can cost around $100 or a little more. Image quality is 480p or better. Upconverting DVD players produce near-HD-like images. All DVDs include 5.1 surround solutions such as Dolby Digital, and DTS. Life is good. And, even if many of these people have recently purchased an HDTV, the images still look terrific as many sets will upconvert to 1080i. So, people think " why bother with Blu-ray. I'll wait for the prices to come down. As well, movies on Blu-ray are also more expensive than DVD. DVD movies range between $14.99 and $19.99 on average. New Blu-ray titles can cost up to $39.95.
Well, now that the HD Format War is officially over, the companies that make Blu-ray players have no desire to bring prices down this year. They would like to recoup all of their R & D costs. So, right now the average selling price of a Blu-ray player is $399. Sony says that we'll see $299 players in $2009. So, do the math. In these recessionary days, why spend $399 when you can spent a $100 to $150 or so on a good upconverting DVD player. And, right now, HD DVD players are selling for about $99 with HD DVD movies selling for 50-percent off. If nothing else, they make a terrific upconverting DVD player. If a person is serious about Blu-ray, the PS3 is really a better value than a stand-alone player with prices starting at $399 for two products in one.
Another pesky problem with Blu-ray is firmware updates as every so often on Blu-ray the firmware changes. So, you may buy a recent BD movie only to find that it doesn't play right away. Why? You need a firmware update. This can only be accomplished by connecting the player to the Internet via Ethernet. At least, the PS3 offers WiFi connectivity. Most folks that I know don't an Ethernet outlet in their family/living room. Of course, you can always call or email the manufacturer to send you a special disc to insert into the player to update your firmware. Now, I have several BD players, and I've gone through numerous firmware updates. It's a pain in the neck.
Now, we also have to wonder about video downloads. There's a growing number of folks out there who believe that way people will watch movies and TV shows in the future is via downloads. While video downloads still have some hurdles to overcome, some companies like Apple TV and Vudu are offering specialized set-top boxes that receive and decode this content including HD. While video downloading is still in its infancy, it is growing. Simply look to video on demand (VOD) services from your local cable or satellite company. Even companies like Netflix are getting on the video download band wagon.
So, with all of these variables, can Blu-ray really survive? Personally, I think that it can. Will it replace standard definition DVD? Not in the near future. Blu-ray will receive increased competition from video downloading as the technology gets simpler to use and the pipe gets bigger. The price of Blu-ray players and movies has to come quickly to compel consumers to purchase a new player. If it can do that, it may have a shot at being king of the home video market. Otherwise, it end up in the dust bin like other past formats.