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Blu-ray Beats Recession; Sales Up 91 Percent

During times when many expect less than optimistic, Blu-ray manages to continue reach more of the market.

In the first half of 2009, growth of Blu-ray sales compared to last year were up 91 percent to $407 million, according to the Digital Entertainment Group. This is a particularly bright spot for the format as the entire home entertainment industry was down overall. Consumer spending for the first half of 2009 on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and digital distribution, was $9.73 billion, down by 3.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

Stats gathered by Swicker & Associates say that nearly 20 million Blu-ray discs shipped to retail in the second quarter of the year – a growth of 57 percent over the same period last year. There was 79 percent growth for the first half of the year compared to the same period last year. Rentals were also up 62 percent for Blu-ray disc, another strong indication that the mainstream consumers are buying into the format.

Blu-ray Disc hardware sales exceeded two million units in the first half of 2009, an increase of almost 25 percent over the same period last year. This brings the total installed base of Blu-ray devices in U.S. homes to nearly 11 million units, including the PS3 and standalones.

Helping to fuel the growth of Blu-ray is the increase in HDTVs in U.S. homes. According to the CEA, more than 10 million HDTVs were sold to consumers in the first half of 2009. Household penetration of HDTVs in the U.S. is at approximately 44 million, up 13 percent from the end of year 2008, representing 38 percent of all U.S. households.