From VSDA: Despite encouraging early sales for HD DVD and Blu-ray and
robust studio support expected in the fourth quarter, retailers are predicting
the next-gen high-def formats won't take off until 2007.
That's the general buzz coming out of this year's Video Software Dealers Association
convention, which winds down at the end of this week in Las Vegas. According
to Video Business, an informal
survey of attending retailer representatives
found most are optimistic on
high-def's long-term prospects but still guarded in their sales predictions
"We are in high-tech central, and we aren't buying [inventory for our store]
yet,” said Brian Dunleavy, co-owner of San Francisco's Noe Valley Video.
"We haven’t had one [of our store's customers] ask about it. I just
don't think the average consumer wants to deal with this, because they feel
like they just switched over to DVD [from VHS]. It's going to be a good year
and a half out before this gets going."
However, HD DVD and Blu-ray supporting studios including Warner, Universal,
Sony and Fox showed off demos of the technologies to eager attendees. As many
as 400 to 500 people daily are estimated to have visited the displays, which
included the latest in next-gen high-def hardware and software.
"The retailers here are very important to us," said Rich Marty, Sony
VP of new business development. "Some of them are getting their first look
at [Blu-ray], and we want them to get educated. Once they see the picture, it
speaks to the format, [and retailers] will see it's the right thing to do."
The studio demos at VSDA were preceded by the announcement Monday
from HD DVD backers of a $150 million marketing campaign designed to
increase consumer awareness of the format, as well as Warner unveiling
plans for an aggressive slate of A-list titles to debut in time for the fourth quarter, including the latest in the 'Harry Potter' and 'Batman' franchises.
Still, retailers remain cautious about market reaction to high-def this early
in the game.
"Inevitably, this all [HD DVD and Blu-ray] is the future of home entertainment,
but it won't be the saving grace in 2006," Virgin buyer Chris Anstey predicted