The latest survey from SmithGeiger shows that HDTV owners would rather watch movies on Blu-ray Disc than stream content directly to their TV.

Well, hardly any surprise there. There’s never been any doubt about the phenomenal quality of Blu-ray images – but that still doesn’t seem to be translating into sales.

Even with price drops in the US of between USD $200 and $300, the HD players aren’t rushing off the shelves.

Texas superstore Bjorn’s and Pennsylvania-based Gerhard Appliances reported no sales change after Sony and Samsung cut USD $100 off their respective BDP-S350 and BD-P1500 models to USD $299 at the end of September.

US consumer electronics retailers are hoping the fast approaching Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving Day and traditionally one of the busiest shopping days of the year – will prove to be a sales bonanza even with the current economic troubles.

Yet, while SmithGeiger’s survey of 1,600 HDTV owners revealed a 10-to-1 preference for Blu-ray over streaming content it underlines Blu-ray’s problem.

Too many consumers seem happy with their DVD players and appear unwilling to fork out for another machine – even if Blu-ray prices are now dropping rapidly.

This reluctance is a barrier that the consortium of companies behind the HD technology have so far been unable to overcome.

So perhaps the news that the movie studios and consumer electronic makers are going to begin a USD $25 million advertising promotion for Blu-ray is a step towards addressing what could be a fatal flaw.

Especially since more set-top boxes are focussing on offering streaming digital content, with the cost of the services decreasing.

A monthly subscription fee to Netflix is seen by many as a cheaper alternative to purchasing a Blu-ray player and discs, not least if you already own the movie on DVD.

Streaming content is going to continue to expand and will become more lucrative, especially as a wider library of TV episodes and movies becomes available.

Blu-ray beware – time is running out.

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