Lack of 1080p Viewers a Temporary Bust for Blu-ray?

Plasma or LCD aside, how about 1080p or no 1080p?

That may prove to be a bit of a dilemma for new HD consumers, especially in a faulty economy. While 1080p as been widely marketed as the next "must have" for high tech enthusiasts (apparently along with 120 Hz and now even 240 Hz), those who do their homework before buying (and shouldn't everyone?) might soon come to realize that while Blu-ray Disc is 1080p, virtually nothing produced by broadcasters, cable, and other content providers for television is produced or transmitted in 1080p.

So what's a consumer to do when faced with somewhat higher price points for 1080p (especially when quick side-by-side comparisons in-store between 720p and 1080i using the same content may not provide any obvious standout to the untrained eye)? Of course, if a home already has a Blu-ray Disc player and/or PlayStation 3 game console, than 1080p makes a bit more sense. (All PS3's contain internal Blu-ray drives.)

Yet slightly more than 5 million 1080p sets had been sold in the U.S. in 2008 through July, according to the CEA, while 8.4 million other DTV sets (480p, 720p and 1080i) were sold in the same time frame. And the CEA projects that only about a third of all DTVs sold this calendar year will be 1080p.

So for now, at least, between lack of 1080p productions (save for Blu-ray) and cost differences, 1080p seems to be holding a decent chunk of the overall HD sales pie, but hardly dominating sales, per se. Not yet, anyway. And while more and more HD owners of 720p and 1080i sets may buy Blu-ray players to enhance their disc viewing, Blu-ray is only fully optimized with 1080p capabilities.