Until the latter half of 2006, awareness in the consumer high-definition video space was focused primarily on HD set-top boxes, televisions, pay-TV services, and digital terrestrial broadcasts. Blue-laser disc players under the Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD banners arrived late in 2006, but with limited impact. However, with the entry of Sony’s Playstation 3 and updates to Microsoft’s Xbox 360, HD-capable game consoles are rapidly changing the role that these devices will play in the household and in the HD market overall.
The first, most noticeable impact of both consoles has been their role in driving blue-laser format penetration. Though neither blue-laser format has experienced substantial success in standalone player sales, consoles have proven more successful in stimulating uptake of both formats. According to analyst Paul Erickson of IMS Research, “The HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc camps have both benefited greatly from the console market. The majority of the current blue-laser disc installed base is comprised of Playstation 3’s and Xbox 360 HD-DVD add-on drives, and this trend is likely to continue until standalone player prices drop well below current levels.”