DVD is the Last Mainstream Optical Disc. Sorry BluRay.

BluRay is not going to fail, it just isn’t going to go mainstream. It will be the LaserDisc to DVD’s VHS. Better sound, better picture, more options… and only used by gadget geeks and home theatre nerds.

BluRay movie sales will remain flat and DVD sales will continue to dwindle as people only buy Collector’s Editions of their favorites and go to downloads for everything else. BluRay discs will compete by adding more and more movie-geek and gadget-geek features that the average movie watcher couldn’t care less about.

Optical Discs aren’t going to go away, they’re just going to return to their 1997 status of Serious Movie Fans Only.

Netflix already realizes this. They are preparing for a post physical-media world. They are getting their customers to think of their service not as “DVD Rental” but as “Movie Access”. For X dollars per month, you have access to our library of movies on DVD, BluRay, your computer, your TiVo, your Roku Player, your Samsung Player, etc. Movies and vintage TV, non-linear delivery, all you can eat for a flat monthly rate. It’s like a premium cable TV channel, but you choose what to watch and how you watch it.

Apple is hoping that it’s iTunes movies will replace running to Best Buy for those “quick nothing” movies that you buy because it’s cheaper than GOING to a movie. Those “impulse buy” DVDs that you watch once and forget you own. At $9.99 it’s cheaper than everything but the giant bins of movies near the Wal-Mart check out stand, and has a much better selection of titles, or you can rent it for half the price.

Sure, a lot of the DVDs I own are because it was only a few dollars more than renting, but do I really need Morgan Stewart’s Coming Home, Betsy’s Wedding, or Advice from a Caterpillar taking up shelf space? I’ve shipped them across the country three times, and paid to store them in two states. They have no resale value. I doubt I’ll ever watch them again, but I can’t just toss them in the garbage, so there they sit… with their 600 friends.

On the other hand, I have no problem deleting episodes of Veronica Mars, Back to You, or Supernatural (that I paid for) just to make room. I doubt I’ll feel the sting of a deleted rental.

I know I’m just one person, but I was ahead of the crowd on VCRs, the internet, DVD, 16:9 screens, 5.1 sound, TiVo, MP3 Players, iPods, and switching to Macs. I just don’t hear the siren song of BluRay like I did everything else.


4 comments so far

  1. […] unknown wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptBluRay movie sales will remain flat and DVD sales will continue to dwindle as people only buy Collector’s Editions of their favorites and go to downloads for everything else. BluRay discs will compete by adding more and more movie-geek … […]

  2. […] Posted November 22, 2008 Filed under: Hardware | Two weeks ago, I wrote that BluRay was doomed to take LaserDisc’s place as a movie-and-gadget-geek-only […]

  3. scorch07 on

    I tend to disagree. How do you think DVD started out? It started out only going to people willing to buy the really expensive DVD players, but as the players got cheaper and cheaper, more people started buying it until it was the “standard.” First, HDTVs have to become the norm for BD to even matter to most people. It will be a few years, but I still think it will eventually replace DVDs. Sure, downloading is becoming pretty big, but I really think it’s a fad. The quality is atrocious, and there’s something to be said about having something you can grab and take to a friend’s house or something. I know if it comes down to all downloads, I’ll just stop buying movies. In fact, I can’t think of anyone I know personally that doesn’t buy physical copies of their movies, DVD or BD.

  4. Neurotic Nomad on

    [Edit: Trimmed a bunch and put it in this article.]

    I don’t believe internet-based delivery is a fad. I believe internet-based video entertainment delivery will surpass broadcast and proprietary network delivery (cable/satellite) in less than a decade. Some things you will download, others you will stream. Some you will rent, some you will buy.

    As for the quality of the streams/downloads, every year the national average bandwidth speed rises. It’s already hit “good enough for TV” levels. It will only improve.

    Physical formats will never go away, but I don’t think BluRay has enough momentum to unseat DVD as The Big Kahuna of plastic discs because a lot of the submarkets for plastic discs are going to dry up before BluRay becomes commonplace.

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