Forecast: Black Friday Blu-ray Players to Fall Under $100

According to at least one industry analyst, the price points for some basic Blu-ray player models will continue declining through the fall and on Black Friday, Nov. 27, could dip down to near $50 at the big-box stores. (Whether the lower prices persist beyond Black Friday is another question.)

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is typically seen by the media and retailers as the opening-day salvo for the holiday sales season, and this year likely will see an all-out marketing push to bring Blu-ray products closer to the ubiquitous level that standard DVD achieved several years ago over VHS tape, according to the NPD Group, a consultancy.

In an otherwise negative CE landscape for much of 2009 because of the economy, Blu-ray players have steadily (albeit slowly) continued to accelerate in sales, although Blu-ray titles have not grown markedly due to what several experts say is Blu-ray’s backwards-compatibility factor: Many consumers do not find it necessary to replace their current library of DVD titles with upgraded Blu-ray titles of the same content because the DVD discs will play just fine on new Blu-ray players.

While NPD says it’s a certainty that some Blu-ray players will dip slightly below the $100 mark, some special deals (such as at Walmart, which is in the process of upgrading most of its CE departments) will probably offer some special mark-downs closer to $50 — at least for those precious few hours of Black Friday.