A new study by Understanding & Solutions reveals substantial growth opportunities within the HD market, with 115m 'HD-Ready Homes' in Western Europe forecast by 2010 but only 17m homes receiving HD broadcasting. The result is a huge 'content gap' and what the study calls "a fantastic opportunity for consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers," writes Fergal Ringrose.
"Historically, the market has been driven by consumer demand for LCD and Plasma displays, as the flat panel design easily integrates into the living room," said Jim Bottoms, Managing Director, Understanding & Solutions. "The fact that these sets are HD-Ready used to be a bonus rather than a key purchase driver, but European consumers are now beginning to crave HD content for their HD-Ready displays, and buying a high definition player is the obvious solution.
"In Western Europe, we forecast the total installed base of Blu-ray players and recorders, including PS3 and PC Drives, to have grown to over 45 million by 2010," explained Bottoms, "and with Blu-ray accounting for upwards of 75% of all player sales each year, our analysis leads us to conclude that Blu-ray will be the clear winner."
When launched in Europe next month, the rise of the PS3, complete with built in Blu-ray Disc player, will be a strong driver for HD ownership. Understanding & Solutions forecasts cumulative sales of more than 28 million PS3s in Western Europe by 2010, making up a staggering 52% of the total number of High Definition DVD players in use in consumer homes.
A recent survey of 10,000+ PS3 owners, carried out in the USA by Sony, revealed that 80% of the respondents plan to purchase Blu-ray movies to view on their PS3 and over 75% of respondents plan to use their PS3 as a primary device for watching movies.
In addition to the PS3, far stronger industry support from the studios - seven out of eight support Blu-ray, five of which support Blu-ray exclusively - will act as a strong driver for the format. In the US last year, 18 of the 20 top selling DVD Titles were available on Blu-ray, whereas only four were available on HD-DVD (Source: Daily Variety).
In 2005, approximately 50% of the US studios' $45bn net revenue was through home video sales and rental. This growth cannot be sustained without the uptake of a high definition format, so the industry has a lot riding on HD.