It’s fitting that after a roller-coaster year for Blu-ray the high-def format should end 2009 on a high AND a low.

With sales in the US encouraging, a poll by Zogby International shows that Blu-ray players are one of the most wanted holiday gifts this season for HDTV owners.

The players are only beaten by consumers looking for a second HDTV.

Overall, Blu-ray players received 30 per cent of the vote, beating other popular gifts such as GPS systems, Nintendo Wii, and MP3 players.

On a low note was the decision by Yahoo to put Blu-ray at number three in its year-end Best and Worst Tech Products list.

A key complaint about the format was the continued high price of discs despite the plumetting cost of players.

Yahoo also wasn’t happy with the slowness of the technology, including its lengthy boot-up time.

The Zogby results were part of an online poll conducted between December 2-4 which polled 1,726 HDTV owners asking them which gift they would like to receive this holiday season.

Of those who responded, 66 per cent indicated they would be purchasing titles for themselves.

More than half the respondents (55 per cent) said they would be purchasing titles for friends and family who owned Blu-ray Disc players.

Not surprisngly given its early sales figures, the poll also found that The Dark Knight is the most anticipated title this holiday season, followed by
Mamma Mia, Wall-E, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and Hancock.

Reports suggest that sales of Blu-ray titles in the US and UK are picking up well.

Figures for the UK show that sales reached 462,500 units in November, an increase of 165 per cent over the previous month.

While final December numbers aren’t available until January, initial sales are encouraging – helped considerably by the success of The Dark Knight.

A total of 6.5 Million units have been sold in Europe to date (up 320 per cent), with the market share expected to double next year to 6 per cent.

So far, roughly 800,000 stand-alone Blu-ray Disc players have been sold in Europe, but that number is expected to triple for next year, up to 2.5 Million

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