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Projection: Sluggish Blu-ray Sales to Jump Sharply by 2009

Worldwide shipment and sale of standalone 1080p Blu-ray players will likely triple this calendar year and double in 2009, according to DisplaySearch, a consultancy and researcher. The projections are based on steadily decreasing price points, more available movie and TV series titles, and the increase in the number of consumers with HD television sets who want to enhance their viewing and audio capabilities. (Standalone players exclude Blu-ray drives sold in all PlayStation 3 game consoles.)

DisplaySearch projects a total of 2.38 million Blu-ray players will be purchased this year, more than doubling to 5.31 million units globally in 2009. (In 2007, about 700,000 standalone players were sold.)

At its own conference last week in California, DisplaySearch said the predicted sharp growth in sales will mean that standalone players will overtake Sony's PS3 game devices as the major source of Blu-ray drive sales by 2010. Most of the short-term global growth in Blu-ray sales, as in HD sets, will continue to be concentrated in the United States, according to the researcher.

Still, Blu-ray players are not breaking any sales records anywhere, to date. A recent DisplaySearch survey finds that more than one-third of consumers either see no immediate reason to upgrade their standard DVD players (whether or not they own HD sets), or are waiting for further price drops before seriously considering a Blu-ray buy.