Blu-ray combo packs, which package a Blu-ray Disc with a DVD and a Digital Copy for use on other media, remain a popular and successful option for discs. As for the state of getting the much-talked-about managed copy (which would have allowed digital copies and rights management using the Advanced Access Content System DRM used by Blu-ray), well...we're still waiting for managed copy. At this point, the question remains whether it's even relevant, given the news today of six studios partnering on UltraViolet, a digital locker system due later this year that was designed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem. (UltraViolet allows you to register up to 12 devices so you can share content among those devices via downloading or streaming.)
Meanwhile, 2010 saw the launch of Blu-ray 3D; as 3D HDTV in the home takes off, the availability of content will help keep the Blu-ray player in living room entertainment stacks. According to DEG estimates, about 100 Blu-ray 3D titles will be in stores by the end of 2011; already, at CES Disney announced it plans at least 15 titles for 2011.
2011 also promises to provide the best reason yet for hold-outs to buy a Blu-ray player: The coming release of all six Star Wars films on Blu-ray Disc in September 2011. Yes, the Force will be with you in high-def...finally.
Blu-ray has come far in its four and a half years at market. "At that time, it was brand new and nobody had heard of it," recalls Parsons. "Now, we're growing larger and larger in retail presence. Prices of players are much more accessible."
Even more critically: The addition of streaming services-everything from Netflix to Vudu, Pandora, YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, and beyond--to Blu-ray players has helped cement Blu-ray's role in your living room (Panasonic's 2011 players even add Skype support). With a streaming-equipped Blu-ray player, consumers might be able to skip the media streamer component, and that makes Blu-ray a good value. "They're really a central content device that becomes the nerve center of your home entertainment system," agrees Parsons.
Still, the prospect of clashing lightsabers and exploding Death Stars in high-def glory aside, can Blu-ray continue its march forward when faced with the threat posed by the convenience of the same streaming services that help boost players' multipurpose usefulness?