Study: Blu-ray to Penetrate U.S. ‘Mainstream’ by 2010

If the year 2010 were a person, it would have an awful lot of pressure riding on itself right now. While analysts are widely predicting it will be the year that great strides are made both in TV and cinema 3D technology, it’s also expected to be the year that some analysts such as iSuppli predict that HD viewing will become commonplace in a sizeable majority of homes.

Now 2010 is being touted as the year when Blu-ray will penetrate “the mainstream” — according to new survey data from NPD.

The research firm worked up a comparative analysis of the types of consumers who were using Blu-ray players in February 2008 to those Blu-ray devices this past August. Over the 18-month period, NPD said the Blu-ray consumer base broadened noticeably beyond the “early adopter” level. The analyst predicts if this accelerating group of Blu-ray buyers (actually, several subgroups including seniors and new-gadget wannabes) continues purchasing Blu-ray players through the final quarter of the year (which includes the vital holiday sales season), Blu-ray will become mainstream.

Still, “mainstream” is not everyone. NPD said right now the mainstream makes up about 42 percent of U.S. consumers — although that segment by itself is large enough (especially when coupled with the previous early adopters and other subgroups) to be considered vital to the success of any potential CE product.

NPD is figuring that a lot of Blu-ray player models in the coming holiday season will dip below $150, and some below $100.