Blu-ray drives in PCs? Fuggetaboutit

Michael Yang, an iSuppli senior analyst, says that consumers can't find a compelling reason to pay extra for a Blu-ray drive

Blu-ray may have a future in the living room, but its prospects in the PC market appear bleak. A new study by market researcher iSuppli shows that only 3.6 percent of PCs this year will ship with Blu-ray high-definition optical drives, a figure will rise to just 16.3 percent by 2013.

Why the sluggish adoption rate? Michael Yang, an iSuppli senior analyst, says that consumers can't find a compelling reason to pay extra for a Blu-ray drive, in part because of the anemic selection of Blu-ray movies.

Yang makes some valid points, and I doubt that Blu-ray drives will ever become standard equipment in consumer PCs, even after 2013. Consumer PCs, particularly notebooks and netbooks, simply don't need Blu-ray. Here's why:

HD Movies are wasted on small laptop screens: Notebooks outsell desktops, and notebooks have relatively small screens. (A 17-inch display qualifies as a big-screen experience on a laptop.) Blu-ray's HD brilliance is lost on a laptop screen. The format is best suited to a home theater setup with a 50-inch or larger HDTV.

Living room Blu-ray players are cheap: Some Blu-ray fans might argue that consumers could stream Blu-ray movies from their laptops to their big screen TVs. (An HDMI connection would work too.) Yes, they could, but they probably won't. Most folks would rather spend $200 for a Blu-ray player for the living room.

Blu-ray isn't a great backup drive: Blu-ray's storage capacity may be impressive, but who wants to back up a massive hard drive to a stack of discs? It's easier to buy an external hard drive, which is dirt cheap these days, or to use an online backup service.

Optical drives will soon be extinct: Quick, when's the last time you used your DVD drive? Mine has sat idle for months. If I need to install software, I download the program. Shrink-wrapped apps are going away. The MacBook Air ditched the optical drive, and nearly all netbooks have too. I'm sure the users of those portables are fine with that. The DVD drive will soon go the way of the floppy. Fast forward to 2013, and most notebooks won't have an optical drive at all. Improvements in broadband speeds will make movie downloading/streaming commonplace.

Blu-ray won't vanish entirely, of course. But it'll be little more than a niche peripheral that appeals to a small segment of the market.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci via Twitter (@jbertolucci) or at jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags blu-ray

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeff Bertolucci

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?