Blu-ray: Strong Start for 2009

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Blu-ray has had a tumultuous past, but after its showing at the 2009 Consumer Electronics Show that ended yesterday, the technology shows great promise.

Disc sales have tripled in the past year, according to The Digital Entertainment Group, an organization made up of movie studios and electronics manufacturers who track the industry. Blu-ray sold 28.6 million discs in the fourth quarter of 2008, and there are 10.7 million Blu-ray players currently in the United States.

The biggest seller was The Dark Knight, the number two highest grossing motion picture of all time. The Dark Knight is the first Blu-ray disc to sell over one million copies.

These strong sales were also reported by the British Video Association in a post-Christmas report.

With the bounty of new Blu-ray devices splashing into the market, 2009 looks to be a great year for the format, and may catapult it out of relative obscurity and into the mass market.

LG announced the LG BD370 and LG BD390 Network Blu-ray Disc Players, which feature on-demand streaming content from Netflix, CinemaNow, and YouTube. Samsung released a sexy new model, The Samsung BD-P3600, also featuring streaming content and 1GB of internal flash memory, and a hyper-connected Blu-ray home theater set-up. Panasonic produced the portable Blu-ray player, and Sharp built Blu-ray into its new LCD TVs.

Meanwhile, prices on connected Blu-ray players have dropped, which should pique consumer's interest in the format.

After a dubious year of sales and recognition, Blu-ray seems to have finally hit its stride. You can expect 2009 to be a stellar year for disc releases, sales, and new products supporting the winner of the high-def war. And remember: the more popular a product becomes, the more likely prices will drop even further.

This story, "Blu-ray: Strong Start for 2009" was originally published by PCWorld.

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