After a drawn out format war that threatened to follow the financially destructive and divisive bout between Betamax and VHS decades earlier, the next generation HD format Blu Ray has emerged victorious over HD DVD. The current format having finally been agreed upon, many people feel safe spending on hardware that works with the format whereas before, being unsure which format would ultimately survive, people weren’t ready to commit to a system. Now that Blu Ray has become mainstream and is slowly phasing DVDs into obscurity (the way DVD did to VHS), people are looking to bolster their high definition movie library with one question in mind: what will be the next blu ray releases?
The very first movies to get blu ray releases were by Sony and MGM studios, including The Fifth Element and Terminator respectively. Although it was sold relatively poorly while they were still in competition with HD DVD, again because consumers were unwilling to commit to a format until either one had cemented its place in the market. However, new movies were still released on blu ray by its supporting studios, and once the format war had ended and blu ray had emerged victorious, sales of the format began making serious strides.
Blu ray’s popularity also saw a soaring increase: where blu ray releases accounted for about 5% of all disc sales during the first half of 2008, by the end of the year this number had increased to 14%. When The Dark Knight was released in December of that year, it sold over half a million copies on the very first day of its release. Within a week, it had sold some 1.7 million copies, becoming the first among blu ray releases to sell in seven figures in its first week on the market.
At this stage, blu ray sales were found to be considerably more numerous than DVD experienced at a similar point in its release history, proving that blu ray was being much more readily adopted over its previous format than DVD was over VHS. A unique feature that many studios have offered is a sort of duel function to the disk itself. Dubbed “flipper discs”, studios have released movies with a blu ray version printed on one side while the other is in DVD format, allowing for both forward and backward compatibility, which helped ease the transition to the new format. Some of these releases also came with a digital copies – files that could be played on iPods and computers and the like without the need of a physical disc.
As of 2010, blu ray releases have become the standard. The end of the format war prompted all studios to adopt the format and release films on blu ray, which has by this point completely eclipsed DVD as the default media format.
Article by Paul Wise. When it comes to blue ray releases, Paul recommends Tapes.com for information on blank media technology.