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20th Century Fox to Release Blu-ray Movies at Nearly 3 Times the Price of a Standard DVD
posted by: Aaron Stanton
publisher: 20th Century Fox
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date posted: 02:58 PM Fri Sep 1st, 2006
last revision: 12:04 PM Mon Sep 11th, 2006

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Click to read.In many ways, Sony has been banking on the Blu-ray technology of the Playstation 3 to justify its high price. At the time of the PS3 release, the PS3 will probably be the least expensive Blu-ray player on the market, with two versions selling at $500 and $600. Now, 20th Century Fox has announced that they\'ll be releasing a number of Blu-ray movies just before the PS3 launch in November, including at least one dual-layer Blu-ray that clocks in at 50 gigabytes. According to their press release, Fox will be selling Behind Enemy Lines, Fantastic Four, Kingdom of Heaven (Director\'s Cut), Kiss of the Dragon, The Omen, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Speed, and The Transporter for $40 each.

In this journalist\'s opinion, this is another ill-omen for Sony\'s push of the Blu-ray technology. Putting aside the industry numbers that suggest most people in the United States won\'t own a HD-TV before 2009, and therefore won\'t benefit from high definition formats, the starting price for what amounts to an improved DVD is really quite high. Movies are purchased for their content, and the average consumer views the quality difference between the DVD and the HD formats as a mild curiosity, hardly worth almost tripling the price of the movie. League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, for example, sells new for about $13 at Walmart.com. The Transporter sells for about $14. In three months, both will sell for $40 on Blu-ray, and the average PS3 owner (meaning the average Blu-ray owner) simply won\'t care.

For many years to come, high definition video will be a niche market, purchased by the same people that buy six-channel CDs and claim vinyl has more realistic acoustics, unless Sony (and other companies like 20th Century Fox) changes their tactics.

While the price of Blu-ray discs will come down as the technology loses its wow factor, it has to do far better than The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen for $40 to compete with upcoming HD-DVD titles. In fact, if it weren\'t for Sony\'s backing of the technology in the PS3, the Blu-ray format wouldn\'t be able to get away with nearly this sort of consumer bullying. It simply doesn\'t offer that much above and beyond the developing competition to give it that level of confidence.

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