U.K.: Blu-ray Prices Falling Fast in 2009

While Blu-ray titles continue to retail for noticeably higher price points than their standard DVD counterparts (especially when comparing the same titles), their prices have been falling steadily both in the United Kingdom and North America.

Still, Blu-ray accounts for about 15 percent of all video discs sold (which is to say, the other 85 percent are DVDs).

In the U.K., retail pricing on titles newly released to Blu-ray has slid an estimated 40 percent since last winter, according to industry analyst Futuresource Consulting. And while it's perfectly natural for all new-tech products to drop in price the longer they're in the marketplace (and the greater the volume of units are being produced), few can predict with any accuracy how fast those cyclical price drops will occur. (Hence, a 40 percent plunge in Great Britain in barely six months is a bit more than some analysts were predicting several months ago.)

It helps that the price points for Blu-ray players are also steadily declining — as well as the fact that all PlayStation 3 game consoles (including a newly introduced scaled-back PS3 with MSRP under $300) come with internal Blu-ray drives as standard equipment.

But while sales of new titles continue eating into overall disc sales, Futuresource said catalog titles (i.e., older movies) are not readily replacing their standard DVD counterparts. That dilemma might be exacerbated by the fact that all Blu-ray players are backwards-compatible and play standard DVD fare just fine.

Even with that 40-percent drop, most Blu-ray titles are still noticeably more expensive than most standard DVD titles in the U.K., leading Futuresource to conclude that, among other things, a lot of Blu-ray consumers will not hesitate to purchase standard DVD titles if they don't like the price differential on any given title.