The launch of Sony’s PlayStation 3 next month is expected to have a huge impact on the world of high-definition (HD) TV, and research firm Understanding & Solutions predicts that there will be 115 million HD-ready homes in Western Europe by 2010.
“In Western Europe, we forecast the total installed base of Blu-ray players and recorders, including PS3 and PC Drives, to have grown to over 45 million by 2010,” explained Jim Bottoms, managing director of Understanding & Solutions.
“With Blu-ray accounting for upwards of 75pc of all player sales each year, our analysis leads us to conclude that Blu-ray will be the clear winner.”
Despite the installed base of 115 million HD-ready homes by 2010, Bottoms predicts that there will only be 17 million Western European homes receiving HD broadcasting, creating a huge content gap and a crucial opportunity for consumer electronics manufacturers and retailers.
“Historically, the market has been driven by consumer demand for LCD and Plasma displays, as the flat-panel design easily integrates into the living room,” said Bottoms.
“The fact that these sets are HD-Ready used to be a bonus rather than a key purchase driver but European consumers are now beginning to crave HD content for their HD-ready displays and buying a HD player is the obvious solution.”
Bottoms said that when launched in Europe next month, the rise of the PS3, complete with built-in Blu-ray Disc player, will be a strong driver for HD ownership.
Understanding & Solutions is forecasting cumulative sales of more than 28 million PS3s in Western Europe by 2010, making up 52pc of the total number of HD DVD players in US in consumer homes.
A recent survey of 10,000-plus PS3 owners, carried out in the US by Sony, revealed that 80pc of the respondents plan to purchase Blu-ray movies to view on their PS3 and over 75pc of respondents plan to use their PS3 as a primary device for watching movies.
In addition to the PS3, far stronger industry support from the studios – seven out of eight support Blu-ray, five of which support Blu-ray exclusively – will act as a strong driver for the format.
In the US last year, 18 of the 20 top-selling DVD titles were available on Blu-ray, whereas only four were available on HD-DV, according to Daily Variety.
In 2005, approximately 50pc of the US studios’ US$45bn net revenue was through home video sales and rental.
“This growth cannot be sustained without the uptake of a HD format, so the industry has a lot riding on HD,” Bottoms added.
By John Kennedy