Blu-ray and Digital Distribution Sales Up – According to the Third Quarter 2010 Home Entertainment Report from The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), Blu-ray software sales are up 80% to $1 billion, Blu-ray set-top sales are up 104% and digital distribution is up 23%. Blu-ray has evolved into a mainstream product, showing growth in every category. There has been a more than 60% growth in Blu-ray catalog spending this year, in challenge to the idea that Blu-ray is mainly a choice for new release films with heavy special effects. Consumers are beginning to expect the extraordinary picture and sound only available on Blu-ray. 21.1 million U.S. households now own a Blu-ray player, and the percentage of homes with at least one Blu-ray player has doubled since 2008 – it is now 17%. Digital distribution, which includes VOD (video-on-demand) and EST (electronic sell-thru), makes up 13.5% of the overall consumer spending in home entertainment this quarter. U.S. household penetration of HDTVs is approximately 53 million, and 14 million DVD players sold in the U.S. this past year. The number of DVD households is approximately 91 million, including households with more than one player.
Sony High End TV Production to Suicide-Plagued Chinese Firm – Sony no longer manufactures their own products, and are struggling to stop falling sales by selling its overseas LCD TV manufacturing plants, increasing outsourcing and expanding its lower-cost models. There are set to use controversial Taiwanese manufacturer Foxconn’s extensive factories in mainland China to make their high end ultra-thin Sony Bravia TVs. Foxconn is currently under investigation following a string of employee suicides. Foxconn will be the largest manufacturer for Sony with 16-18 million units of orders.
U.N. Expert Touts Broadband as a Catalyst for Growth – Based on the latest statistics from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), its Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré says that broadband is “the next truly transformational technology which can generate jobs, drive growth and productivity and underpin long-term economic competitiveness.” The number of worldwide Internet users has doubled in the last five years and will surpass the two billion mark this year. The number of people with access to the Internet at their home has increased from 1.4 billion last year to almost 1.6 billion this year, and 162 million of the 226 million new Internet users are from developing countries, where Internet users grow at a higher rate. By the end of this year, 71% of those in developed countries will be online compared to 21% in developing countries. Regional differences are pronounced however: 65% of Europeans are on the Internet, but only 9.6% of Africans. There is a growing demand for higher-speed broadband connections. It is still out of reach for many people in developing countries, but mobile phone penetration is now available in over 90% of the global population. Part of the reason is that mobile cellular services are much more affordable than high-speed Internet. In Africa the penetration rate for fixed broadband is less than 1%.
Things to Consider in a New HDTV Besides Price – 1) How far do you sit from your TV? Some people sit too far back; smaller screens require sitting closer. 2) Do you really need 1080p? For many viewers the cheaper 720p resolution is fine; if you notice a huge difference you are probably sitting too close. 3) Plasma or LCD? No contest. Plasma is more expensive and has other problems. The rare RPTVs are even cheaper. 4) Consider if the set’s inputs are appropriate to the legacy components you may have. You may find your old DVD player, for example, won’t connect to your new TV at all. 5) Please don’t depend on the tiny speakers built into the TV for all your audio!