Blu-ray is poised to cement its position in the entertainment space.
This year, worldwide "pre-recorded" Blu-ray disc production is expected to reach more than 400 million units, representing a 60 percent increase over 2009 production, research firm Futuresource announced today. But that figure will pale in comparison to Blu-ray shipments just a few years from now.
Futuresource said that in 2014, it expects 2 billion Blu-ray discs to be shipped worldwide.
Much of the growth in the Blu-ray market is due to "growing player ownership and falling disc prices," Futuresource senior consultant Michael Boreham said in a statement. Boreham also said that increasing Blu-ray popularity is helping to drive more "copy depth" in retail stores.
However, it's the prospect of 3D that could play an integral role in the popularity of Blu-ray going forward.
Fiona Hoy, a market analyst at Futuresource, said in a statement that "3D is ideally suited" to Blu-ray, and starting in 2012, the analyst believes there will be "very strong demand for 3D content, which will fuel additional [Blu-ray sales] growth."
Futuresource's prediction wasn't arbitrarily decided. Reports surfaced earlier this week, claiming Panasonic would hold the exclusive rights to the 3D Blu-ray version of "Avatar" through February 2012. After that time, the film will be made available as a standalone product. Futuresource said "Avatar" is already boosting demand for 3D Blu-ray content, indicating that it could have sizable impact on the market after Panasonic's exclusivity deal ends.
As successful as Blu-ray is expected to be in the coming years, the technology it's replacing, DVD, won't have the same luck.
Research firm In-Stat released a study recently that found total disc sales are expected to drop by $4.6 billion between 2009 and 2014. The research firm confirmed that Blu-ray sales will increase over that period, but they won't grow enough to offset the significant sales declines of DVD.