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Kai Uwe Marner has become the new chairman of the Blu-ray Group Germany, taking over from Thilo R√∂hrig. R√∂hrig, who held the role of chairman since the group’s formation in 2007, oversaw Blu-ray Disc’s success over the competing format HD DVD.
Blu-ray has gained real fans in the home cinema sector and has become well known in general. But a lot of people still do not know about all advantages of the technology, says Marner. Education and information remain the central tasks of the Blu-ray Group Germany. With home entertainment in 3D and growing professional usage of the format using BDXL, further challenges are waiting. The standard’s constant development opens up quite new perspectives – on the market and regarding consumer education. I am looking forward to the upcoming tasks as chairman, because the technology’s potential has still not been exhausted.
Marner answers more questions about the current market development below.
What are the current sales figures of BD software and hardware?
The consumer can now choose between over 2,000 different Blu-ray titles in Germany. In the first half of the year about five million BDs were sold in Germany (source: GfK) and at the end of 2010 we are expecting overall BD sales to hit an eight-figure number. The hardware market is developing equally well. We are expecting an increase in sales of 170 percent this year.
3D is the main topic at IFA 2010. Does 3D home entertainment have the potential to strengthen the Blu-ray market or is it just a temporary trend?¬†¬†
3D home entertainment is directly connected to the Blu-ray technology. At the moment only Blu-ray Disc offers enough space to deliver 3D content in HD quality to the consumers’living rooms. It is a revolutionary extension of the technology.
The first sales figures and surveys show a very high consumer interest. Since March already 40,000 3D TVs were sold (source: BITKOM) in Germany and we expect a six-digit sale by the end of the year. According to an up to date survey by BITKOM, a further 16 million German customers are planning to buy a 3D TV.
Prices for Blu-ray 3D players are already affordable, starting at a point less than 250 Euros. Furthermore the players are downwardly compatible, so they also playback CDs, DVDs or 2D Blu-ray Discs. Blu-ray 3D Discs also often contain a 2D version of the film and can be read by a 2D Blu-ray player too. That is why we are convinced that the 3D technology will become a long-term trend.
Which problems do you see for the Blu-ray 3D market at the moment?
The assortment of devices and content is still low, but that’s normal for any newly introduced technology. With the customers’increasing demand the diversity will rise automatically. We are expecting a dozen 3D movies on BD in Germany by the end of the year.
Don’t you think the customers are maybe overstrained by this new innovation in the home entertainment sector?
No, I don’t think so. The success of 3D theatrical experience has helped to increase the awareness of 3D home entertainment. According to BITKOM almost one of three Germans is interested in three-dimensional movie experiences at home. Of course it is an important task of the Blu-ray Group Germany now to educate and inform the consumers about the advantages and specifics of the technology.