It's Going to be a Blu-ray Christmas

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Tom Keating
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It's Going to be a Blu-ray Christmas

blu ray logo Some experts are skeptical about whether consumers will buy Blu-ray DVD players this Christmas - I am not one of them. Many are saying it's going to be a "blue" Blu-ray Christmas. I disagree. I went shopping for a cheap Blu-ray DVD player on Black Friday, with one bargain special at Wal-Mart offering a $128 Blu-ray player. This was one of the biggest deals offered by Wal-Mart on Black Friday, and one was to wonder if this deal was part of the draw for the raucous crowd that stampeded and killed a Wal-Mart employee.
Christmas tree
When I went to one Wal-Mart, then told me they sold out in 2 hours. I tried another one and they told me I just missed the last unit by less than an hour.

Wal-Mart was offering the Magnavox NB500MG9 Blu-ray Disc Player, a mid-range Blu-ray player. Today (Cyber Monday), that same $128 Blu Ray player is going for $199 online. But all hope is not lost. Amazon has several Blu-ray player special promotion prices with some really cheap Blu-ray players available.

Features of the Walmart Magnavox NB500MG9 Blu-ray player include Full-HD 1080 output (24 or 60p), 1080p DVD upconversion, Composite video output Component video output, Progressive scan video output for HDTVs, HDMI with audio output for Dolby Digital and DTS surround sound, Digital audio output (coaxial), Analog audio output (left and right), CD support, Jpeg photo viewer, screen saver and surround sound effects. However, the Magnavox NB500MG9 Blu-ray player only supports Blu-ray profile 1.1 and not the current Blu-ray 2.0 version. Thus, no BD-Live support for access to more special content via the Internet. Still, this was a bargain Blu-ray player coming closest to breaking the $100 barrier. I planned on giving it to my brother-in-law for Christmas since he was looking at upgrading to a 42" HDTV flat screen.

If the two Wal-Marts I visited are any indication that this will be a "Blu-ray Christmas", then retailers that sell Blu-ray players and Blu-ray discs should be very happy. In fact, I'm surprised with retailers haven't offered a $99 Blu-ray player for sale. Yes, they'd be taking a loss, but perhaps they could offer it as part of a bundle, such as buy 5 Blu-ray movies at $24.99 and get a $99 Blu-ray DVD player plus a coupon for 50% off your next Blu-ray purchase. They'll entice them to come back and purchase more Blu-ray titles, which should more than offset any profits lost on the low-priced Blu-ray player. Once they get consumers hooked on Blu-ray, they'll be paying nearly double what regular DVDs cost.

Retailers need a shot in the arm and one way of doing that is by getting a Blu-ray player in as many homes as possible and as quickly as possible - before HD-on-demand starts to take off. Personally, I prefer to own my movies rather than rent/PPV/video-on-demand. I like to build my movie library so I can watch any of my 500+ movies anytime I want without paying another dime. I think consumers are looking to escape today's harsh economic climate. Watching movies is a heck of a lot cheaper than going to the movies. People are going out a lot less, eating out less, but they still want some form of escapism and quality entertainment. For that reason, I think it's going to be a very "black" Blu-ray Christmas. I have a Blu-ray player on my Christmas wish-list. Crossing fingers Santa Claus thinks I've been good this year.

Also, since today is Cyber Monday, I'm keeping my eye on Amazon for any Blu-ray specials (see: Amazon Blu-ray player special prices). You should as well.

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