No surprises here, but according to a study by ABI Research, consumers are reluctant to buy standalone Blu-ray players. More than half the people surveyed have no plans to buy a standalone Blu-ray player in the near future, and 23 percent are considering it, but not until 2009. Those numbers seem consistent with our experience, as we personally haven't heard much interest in Blu-ray outside of dedicated home theater enthusiasts.
Even though standalones are struggling, ABI says that hasn't stopped Blu-ray from marching forward, thanks to strong sales of the Sony PlayStation 3. And despite some early doubts that PS3 owners wouldn't watch Blu-ray movies, ABI says the company, "didn't see any significant evidence" of that behavior in the survey. That's consistent with an earlier report from the Entertainment Merchants Association, which claimed that 87 percent of PS3 owners do watch Blu-ray movies.
If you've been following CNET's Blu-ray coverage, it shouldn't be shocking that standalones are struggling. The PS3 holds the top spot on our best Blu-ray players list, and every time we review a new Blu-ray player we use the PS3 as our reference. It's the best Blu-ray player we've tested so far, plus you get a high-def gaming console and a well-featured media streamer for $400. Yes, there are a few reasons why you may not want to use a PS3 as your Blu-ray player, but for the vast majority of people the PS3 is just a better value. And with standalone players at current price levels, it seems like consumers agree with us.