Sony’s in a ‘bag of hurt’ because of Blu-ray

Like I pointed out a while back in a response article, Why Apple isn’t Japanese, Sony is not primarily a technology company anymore, and hasn’t been for a long time.

I personally don’t own a single blu-ray because even my DVD purchases had tapered off by the time the very short format war shook out. While I certainly appreciated the higher image and sound quality of blu-ray, I could see that downloaded media was already viable — at that point it had influenced some of my physical media purchases — and was the probable future of the market.

I replaced our DVD player with a blu-ray player when my mother-in-law’s old DVD player died and we gave her ours, only because it was nearly the same price as the available region-free DVD models. I’ve only used it for viewing the occasional Big Movie™ rental disk, when visuals make a difference.

In about the same time period, I’ve bought several HD movies and whole TV series from iTunes. Streaming or downloading is more convenient and, now that I’m consciously trying to get rid of physical goods, there is the added benefit of not having disks. Anything I really want to keep, I can download and store on my Synology NAS.

Physical media has no real benefit for normal people at this point, at least if they have access to any sort of broadband internet service. Increasingly, only collectors and enthusiasts will insist on having the actual storage medium. This dynamic has already played out with music; fewer people buy CDs even if they still buy loads of music, because they’re willing to trade some quality for convenience.

Streaming HD video is more compressed than blu-ray, but the difference in quality is — while noticeable — not so much poorer that the average person will care. Even people who do care (like me) are willing to make the trade-off in most cases. It’s no wonder that blu-ray adoption is tanking.