updated 04:10 pm EDT, Tue August 25, 2009
Poor Blu-ray Uptake on PCs
Attempts by many Windows PC builders have pushed Blu-ray as a major feature of their systems have largely fallen flat, iSuppli said in a new study published today. The optical drives should only appear in about 3.9 percent of PCs this year but, even by 2013, aren't expected to occupy more than 16.3 percent of desktops and notebooks. It's not clear when or if Blu-ray would ever replace DVD drives as the primary optical format.
Cost is given nearly all the blame for the poor reception to Blu-ray. In spite of major price reductions, Blu-ray readers and burners are still normally priced much higher than DVD drives, which often cost as little as $30. Since many users don't have a large library of Blu-ray movies and have little to no programs that would require the extra storage, the average user has no reason to spend extra for the privilege, senior analyst Michael Yang said.
Momentum and the reduced technical advantage are also considered potential factors. DVDs are considered too entrenched, while the small screen and comparatively low-powered speakers of most PCs don't produce as much of a visual benefit as on a large LCD or plasma TV with surround audio.
iSuppli notably omits downloads and a shift in notebook form factors as influences; elsewhere, the rise of HD-resolution downloads and video streams has reduced the incentive to choose optical storage, and an increasing shift towards netbooks and ultraportables has made the bulk of any optical drive less desirable.
The estimates help color the reticence of some computer designers to carry Blu-ray on some or any of their models. Although Dell, HP and others regularly offer Blu-ray drives as options, other major players have kept away. Apple chief Steve Jobs famously characterized implementing Blu-ray as a "bag of hurt," though rumors hint Apple may reverse its thought process with upcoming Macs.