Originally Posted by larrimore
I totally disagree! Blu-ray has a lot going against it already.
#1- it is not a leap ahead of DVD on 75% of displays sold. If you see a difference on your 40" LCD (or below), more power to you, but that is not going to be the case for many people. And, I might add, this is more than 50% of the displays sold today and going higher (the trend in sales is to smaller HD displays as the mass market begins to move to HDTV).
Question. Have you personally ever hooked an HD DVD or Blu-Ray player up to a 32-40" LCD and compared HDM to upconverted DVD on the same HDTV? I have. Multiple times. There is a definite difference. My wife is not even close to being a videophile and she spotted it right away as well (this was on a 32" 720p LCD from 6-7' away comparing Batman Begins on HD DVD and DVD, as well as comparing Pirates on BD and DVD). If I can see the difference and my wife can see the difference, why can't "most people"? I hear this being thrown out all the time on various forums "most people can't see the difference" and I guess I don't understand it. I completely do not agree with it. I think most people will see the difference. It is whether or not they want to pay to see the difference is the biggest question I have..
#2- Even on larger displays, many people fit DVD into the "good enough" category. Maybe this is due to the cost differential of BD or maybe it is the old argument that the WOW factor is not as evident on film based programs (99% of movies) as it is on video based programming like sports on TV, I don't know.
I think it has everything to do with the price. Once BD player hit that critical $199 and below territory (and they clearly will with Funai dropping their MSRP to $249 in September). As for the WOW factor I see it very clearly. Months ago I put in Planet Earth and Casino Royale on BD at a party and people were floored. By the end of the night everyone knew what the term Blu-Ray meant. I originally put it in for a group of us guys (there were 6 of us, and within 30 minutes all the wives had come downstairs and the husbands were talking about wanting a Blu-Ray player).
#3 The whole HD DVD fiasco has left FUD in many people's minds that will take time to alleviate. Many people bought into a failed format and saw how quickly support can be withdrawn and content can dry up. In fact, a decent sized percentage of the population came into DVD from VHS because they were forced to since content dried up, not because of quality. Maybe they wonder if the same can happen to BD (downloads, flash media, or the next "step up" format) in the future.
Sorry, but most people had no idea what HD DVD and Blu-Ray were when they first came out and I doubt many people even heard or cared about Toshiba throwing in the towel in February. Many people are just now seeing HD cable and satelitte for the first time, let alone Blu-Ray. It will take years for Blu-Ray to become a term most people recognize and understand. I think we are lucky the format war ended as quick as it did. As for VHS, I seem to remember most retailers and rental outfits carrying it well into 2002-2003. DVD started taking off in 1999-2000. I don't really see studios phasing out DVD anytime soon, although Warner Bros recently made the comment that they would slowly phase DVD out in favor of BD and VOD. I personally think BD and DVD will be living together side-by-side for another 10 years.
The three items above have the possibility of affecting a large percentage of consumers. If something reasonably priced can blur the line between HD and SD even slightly, it may just be the tipping point for a bunch of people. That, my friends, makes the difference between "niche market" and "mass adoption". For me, it makes little difference, niche market is OK as long as content is readily availble as I plan and buy most of my purchases online. But for many, it may mean not picking up that BD movie they see while getting milk at the grocery store, which further solidifies a niche market for the rest of us and, I might add, keeps prices higher.
The problem with an XDE or Oppo type player is that you are expecting the masses to understand the difference between those players and $40-100 upconverting players from other name brand companies. Go look at Best Buy. They have 11 "1080p" upconverting players by name brand companies (Philips, Toshiba, LG, Samsung, Sony, Pioneer, Panasonic) for $100 or less. If somebody has really done their homework and really cares about the PQ (not to mention AQ/extras) I would advocate that they would most likely spend another $100 or so (even less in the upcoming years) and buy a Blu-Ray player.
Will upconverting players steal some Blu-Ray sales away? Undoubtedly. Especially when the price of Blu-Ray is still relatively high. But over the next year or two, I doubt there will be much more than a $50 difference between a very good upconverting player and a good BD player.