U.S. consumers more aware of Blu-ray Disc devices

Nearly half of U.S. HDTV owners claim to be familiar with Blu-ray Discs (BD), up from 35 percent in June 2007, according to market research firm The NPD Group.

A new report from the research group finds that 45 percent now claim familiarity with Blu-ray Discs, while only 6 percent of all consumers say they will buy a Blu-ray Disc device. However, the report, “2008 Blu-ray Disc Report,” reveals that 9 percent of HDTV owners plan to buy a BD-capable player in the next six months.

With about 40 million U.S. households that own HDTVs, that translates into nearly 4 million potential Blu-ray Disc players, says Russ Crupnick, entertainment industry analyst for NPD.

According to The NPD Group, potential Blu-ray Disc device buyers cite two reasons as barriers to purchases: a perceived high price for the players and a belief that SD DVDs are “good enough.”

Of those who have bought a Blu-ray Disc set-top player, owning “leading-edge technology” and enjoying a “superior viewing experience” were the primary reasons for making the purchase.

Eighty percent of Blu-ray Disc set-top player owners say they expect upcoming disc purchases to be Blu-ray rather than standard DVD. The NPD Group survey also reveals that 43 percent of PS3 owners use their game console once a month to play Blu-ray Discs.

Findings are based on an online survey conducted March 10 and March 20. Data for the sample was weighted to represent the U.S. population of those 18 and older.

For more information, visit www.npd.com.