BDA: UltraViolet is essential to the Blu-ray experience

BDA: Ultraviolet is essential to the Blu-ray experience
Blu movies all the way, according to the BDA

In the last six years, there's been a significant shift in movie watching in the home. Where DVD signified a real change in the market – a massive step up from the antiquated VHS format – Blu-ray has struggled to grab headline space, despite offering undeniable image and sound improvements.

The cheapness of DVDs, coupled with streaming opportunities, iTunes downloads and on-demand all-you-can-eat services has meant that the format is battling for supremacy on a number of fronts.

According to Marty Gordon, Philips vice president and spokesman for the Blu-ray Disc Association, though, the format's resilience means that, six years on, it is finally burning bright in the market.

"We are really getting a lot of wind in our sails with Blu-ray. A big part of the reason for this is the longevity of the format," explained Gordon to TechRadar.

"From a hardware perspective you get the HD of the disc, as well as online connectivity on Blu-ray players and there is also the backwards compatibility with DVD. It really does do it all."

Despite the world's economic woes Blu-ray sales are on the up and the reason for the upsurge, according to Gordon, is twofold: hardware prices are dropping and the interest in retro movies is starting to pick up.

"We are seeing very encouraging growth in the UK – we are looking at 34.6 per cent of households by the end of the year having Blu-ray. In the US this is 49.3 per cent.

"We are starting to see people buying more than one Blu-ray player for their homes. They are now ready to replace the DVD in the bedroom now."

Retro revival

On the software side, it is thought that a total of 19 million discs will be sold this year in the UK, compared to 15 million in 2011. The growth rate in the US is as impressive, with a 23 per cent rise expected.

One of the biggest changes in the market is with retro releases; the likes of the upcoming Jaws restoration and Ben-Hur's HD revival last year are seemingly sparking consumers' interests in Blu-ray.

"Quality is a major factor – especially when you are watching a Blu-ray," said Gordon.

"There are many movies that are being lovingly restored and being re-released and we have seen a 11 per cent increase in consumers spending on these type of titles. People are paying out to get these library titles.

"Restoration is a compelling buying reason. We are always going to see the new titles but the reason there is a uptrend in this, is that people really want to see older films in the best way. That is Blu-ray's proposition, to see the movie as the artist intended."

Despite Lovefilm, Netflix and Sky looking to nab sales away from Blu-ray discs, Gordon is hopeful that will entice consumers to keep choosing the format.

"We are seeing a different consumer now, one that wants to watch content on a variety of different ways [but] the experiences of streaming and Blu-ray are complementary.

"When you buy a disc you can now get a download or a stream, so you can play the movie on various devices.

"What Ultraviolet does is it increases the ownership proposition. You can play it on the Blu-ray player, download it, stream it… it becomes a more compelling proposition.

"We do see UltraViolet as being essential to the Blu-ray experience. It is a digital extension of the Blu-ray player."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.