Deep Blu-ray Discounts Add to High-Def Momentum

Blu-ray Disc titles are now selling for less than the cost of a single movie ticket. Amazon is offering hundreds of Blu-ray titles at half their normal prices for the next two weeks, with some going for as little as $10. With Blu-ray adoption expected to explode in 2009 (for hardware advice, see our list of the Top 10 Blu-ray Disc Players), the discounts on discs can only be seen as adding to the already powerful momentum driving the high-def home theater segment.

Blu-ray Attention

Amazon's Blu-ray sale runs from March 9 through March 22. Nearly 400 titles are listed so far, including six selling for $9.99 and a hundred others priced below $15. The movies range from current blockbusters such as Transformers and WALL-E to older movies like Dirty Dancing.

The sale isn't the only effort to bring fresh attention to the Blu-ray format this month: Disney is experimenting further with bringing a high-def edge to its classic films. The studio released Pinocchio on Blu-ray this week, in honor of the movie's 70th anniversary. The animated film has been upgraded to full 1080p video with 7.1 DTS-HD sound--enhancements that are thus far receiving rave reviews. The Los Angeles Times says the format "reveals the movie's painterly layers spectacularly," while DVD Talk calls the upgrade "absolutely brilliant."

Previously Disney gave Sleeping Beauty the HD touch in a special release last fall. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is set to go to Blu-ray next.

The Year of Blu-ray?

Analysts are predicting sales of more than 100 million Blu-ray players worldwide by the end of the year, with lower player prices being a key force in driving the format into the mainstream. Some models are already retailing for $150 to $200, and more affordable options are expected to hit store shelves in the coming months. Blu-ray discs have been trending toward lower prices for some time now, too, even before this week's Amazon sale.

Despite pessimistic predictions leading up to the 2008 holiday season, Blu-ray ended up having a banner year: Disc sales in the United States tripled over the course of the year, industry reports indicate, with 28.6 million movies being sold in the fourth quarter alone. In the UK, holiday sales of Blu-ray merchandise skyrocketed to a full 400 times their 2007 level.

The market for high-quality, high-definition home theater looks like it won't be going flat anytime soon.

Shopping for a Blu-ray player? Check out PC World's review of the 10 best Blu-ray player options available now.

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