Probably the only one blindsided by the NPD Group's latest numbers is Sony, which according to a new report shows first-quarter Blu-ray player sales increasing by 72 percent to over 400,000 units. It's no coincidence that the average selling price for a stand-alone Blu-ray player has gone down 34 percent from this same time last year, with the average player now selling for $261 instead of $393.
"The rising penetration of high-definition televisions and lower Blu-ray player prices are broadening the format's market opportunity," said Ross Rubin, director of industry analysis at NPD. "Even as options expand for accessing movies digitally, Blu-ray is carrying forward the widespread appeal of DVD into the high-definition marketplace."
Along with more players finding their way into the mainstream market, sales of Blu-ray movies are up significantly, too. U.S. residents bought about 9 million Blu-ray flicks in the first quarter, compared to 4.8 million during the same quarter last year.