High prices keep Blu-ray away from market

Cost and availability stalling market dominance

BRUSSELS -- Despite winning the format war against HD DVD, Blu-ray cannot count on dominating the market thanks to high prices and low availability, according to a market analysis released Tuesday.

Consumer electronics manufacturers need to introduce full-featured players and then get prices down to the $200 level, said ABI Research. Until then, non-HDTV owners will favor standard definition DVD players, and it could be 12 to 18 months before this market kicks into gear, it said.

“Most current players do not support all the functions studios place on the discs,” said ABI analyst Steve Wilson. “Lacking support for -- or upgradeability to -- BD Live! or Bonus View (picture in picture), consumers cannot utilize all the available options.”

ABI added that a depressed economy could lead HDTV and prospective HDTV owners to opt for converting standard players as they delay buying higher-ticket consumer electronic items.