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Blu-ray no hit with DVD stores
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, August 5, 2009
The days of DVD are numbered and Blu-ray is now king of the home video market. But is it really?
Not in Yellowknife - at least not yet, say three Yellowknife video stores that expect to keep renting out DVDs for several years still.
Renters simply aren't embracing Blu-ray in the same manner as they did DVD almost 10 years ago, said Robert Hui, owner of Hollywood Video.
"I don't think people are switching over as readily as before as the last switchover," said Hui.
He blames the economy and the high cost of high definition televisions required to play Blu-ray discs in all their optimum, high-def glory.
"Yellowknife is not known to be not spending money," said Hui. "But now, I see people not spending. Some people tell me, 'No, no, the economy is booming.'
"I don't see it. If you look at the downtown area, you notice right away. If people are spending, you wouldn't have such limited retail stores around."
Hui's store does not currently rent out Blu-ray discs but does sell them.
"We're in transition," he said. "We're basically trying to gauge what (the appetite is). Rental, it's not as popular as it used to be. People tend to buy more than rental."
By the end of the year, however, Hui will begin renting out Blu-ray movies. But fans of his store who rely on him for art house and niche films need not worry; he'll still rent DVDs, too.
"We will still keep the DVDs because some titles are not out on Blu-ray, the more artsy movies. I do a lot of foreign movies and a lot don't have Blu-ray. They only come in DVD format."
At VideoLand, ten per cent of the store's 7,000 movies are available in Blu-ray format.
Owner Norman Tam agreed the high cost of both high-def TVs and Blu-ray players is slowing the growth of the Blu-ray market. He estimated that only 10 to 20 per cent of flat screen TV owners actually have the ability to play high-definition movies.
"We always try to go ahead of the market," said Tam. "It doesn't matter if we make money or not.
"It's picking up because (the price) of the machine is coming down."
Tam predicts in five years Blu-ray will wipe out his slate of DVDs.
Choice Video owner Iris Wanger, who currently has 209 Blu-ray movies in stock, agreed that DVD's time is hardly over.
"I still bring in more DVDs than I do Blu-ray because I don't think the market is there right now," she said.