back to article Blockbuster: DVD to Blu-ray shift slower than VHS to DVD

Film rental firm Blockbuster has said that consumers will be slow at swapping their DVD libraries over to Blu-ray. According to a report by Home Media magazine, Thomas Casey, CFO of Blockbuster said at a recent investor conference in New York that he doesn’t think Blu-ray’s replacement of DVD is “going to be nearly like DVD …


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  1. David Kelly


    Not really surprising is it? I mean you didn't need to change TVs when you upgraded from VHS to DVD. Plus there were a multitude of good reasons to change to DVD such as:

    * playback quality being the same nomatter how many times you watch

    * surround sound

    * picking subtitles or different languages

    * being able to skip to a specific chapter

    * all those DVD extras like deleted scenes etc.

    Blu-Ray just gives us more capacity and better picture quality than DVD providing you've shelled out for an HD TV in the first place, but no compelling features that make using it more enjoyable. The only feature I'm interested in is Blu-Ray's more durable disks. Not enough to make me rush out and get one mind ..

  2. Dan White
    Paris Hilton

    Sheeaaagh! Riiiight!

    The Blu-Ray Disc Association have their heads wedged firmly up their orifices... The only Blu-Ray players people are buying at the moment are the ones that come bundled with a free PS3 ;-)

    There's no way "the masses" are going to be blowing a chunk of wedge on a Blu-Ray player for Christmas, when experience tells us to hold out for cheaper prices and *much* cheaper discs. Plus there's the small matter of wanting to stay in your house and afford to eat...

  3. Jason
    Black Helicopters

    No real surprise here

    After all, DVD had several advantages over VHS:

    Picture Quality

    Form factor (smaller, more robust)

    No need to fast forward or rewind like a VHS tape

    More content available on a DVD than a tape

    Blu-ray (by comparison) has only (in reality) a technical advantage over DVDs in picture quality and that is not enough to get consumers to move en-mass.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm surprised

    It amazes me that anyone will pay £3-4 to rent a dvd from blockbuster when they can usually buy a copy of it for £5.

    At least the, currently, extortionate price of blu-ray discs means that there is a vague market for renting them.

  5. Richard Cartledge
    Thumb Down

    Had it's day

    DVD has had it's hey-day. People want to transfer files to devices these days without a middle-man medium such as tape or disk.

  6. Peter Challis

    Real Benefits of HD?

    After having viewed the differences between HD DVD at 720P, Blu-Ray at 720P and ordinary 576 line PAL DVD upscaled to 720P on a 32" 768 line HD ready set I am not blown away with the improvements of the HD formats.

    True there is definitely better detail but nowhere near the relative improvements I saw in detail; lack of video noise; better sound; and random data access when moving from VHS to DVD.

    Perhaps if I had a larger HD1080 screen then I would see the real benefits of HD? Perhaps when larger 1080P screens are more the norm then Blu-Ray sales will improve further, but from what I see the major benefits that DVD offered over VHS are not repeated with HD DVD format.

  7. Simon

    Blame the HD TV or my eyes

    I have a HD TV, with the alledged "Image Upscaling shar Doo-hickery" (I dont think it really is, but im not sitting in front of its manual right now...)

    Anyway with my modern TV I'm buggered if I can tell the difference between SD and HD.

    I bought the LCD HD TV more because of its slim size, the old CRT one was the size of a large van, complete with pork-pie eating van driver (It felt like when I lifted it) and the tube was worn out

    So yeah, for a slighty better image I need to hemmorage money again to change to the HD format. Easier to just replace the equipment when it starts to get old or fail, rather than update now and just have a perfectly good DVD player gathering dust.

    Maybe people are suffering from "Upgrade cycle fatigue" also by the time I really, really need to buy new equipment the next format after HD/Bloo ray discs will be out buy then (Prays for SSD format).


  8. jonathan keith

    Easy to see why...

    Foolish format wars that garnered lots of bad press, HD is still very pricey, and DVD is simply "good enough" for the vast majority of people.

  9. Gulfie

    Cost and Quality...

    Its no surprise that blu-ray adoption is slow. When I re-purchased DVD copies of films I already had on VHS I was rewarded by a much better picture (more stable, better defined), better and viewable fast forward/reverse and chapter hops that were near instantaneous.

    Blu-ray may be 'better' but... disks are anything up to £10 more than the equivalent DVD and from what I've seen you need a big screen (40"+) or a trained eye to be able to notice the difference in quality.

    Oh, and the blu-ray player I'm getting for Christmas will also play all my DVDs. Why would I spend money replacing stuff which is perfectly acceptable? For that matter, why would I buy blu-ray over DVD? The answer is that I won't.

    The only reason I'll have a blu-ray player is because its actually a PS3. And I bet over 90% of homes in the UK with a blu-ray player are in the same boat. So don't expect any kind of major shift to blu-ray until (a) disc prices drop to the same as DVD or (b) films start coming out only on blu-ray.

  10. Gary

    Could it be?

    That consumers simply don't want to deal with the DRM crippleware that comes with BluRay disks? And that the players are still too expensive, considering most people would be perfectly happy with the quality of upconverting DVD players (or even regular DVD players)?

    Count me out of "upgrading" to a BD player, at least until the prices come down to commodity level.

  11. Axle

    Choice...lack there of

    Maybe the take up is slow because they don't seem to actually stock that many titles in the rental section. Last time I went, admittedly more than a week ago ;), the title list available was the same as it had been for quite a few weeks before hand!

    If there was at least one of every available title instead of 300 copies of Spiderman3 they'd get more business.

  12. Austin Chamberlain

    It's hardly surprising

    The advantages of DVD over VHS as a storage medium are many - smaller size, more resistant to damage and wear, vastly improved access (fast forward, skipping scenes, going to a specific point). The advantage of Blu-ray over DVD is ... er, well, it looks a bit prettier. And you'll have to buy an expensive new player.

  13. Richard

    He's not wrong

    I'm not even touching said over-hyped format 'till the players cost ~£30 and the disks cost ~£6. Oh yes, and only when I can afford a HDTV. Honestly, I only bought my TV a year ago, and I've only had digital TV for a few months.

    It's not like Blue-ray is a vastly superior tech anyway.

  14. Robert Grant

    Love to see Blu-ray vs HD-DVD sales figures atm...

    ...just for giggles.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    RIP physical media

    The problem with HD formats is that IMO the improvement in usability is not enough to capture peoples imagination.

    The switch from video to DVD was such a massive leap in usability and quality that people simply had to have it.

    The switch from vinyl to CD was again such leap that again people had to have it, but look what happened to SACD - kind of fell fell flat on it's face didn't it. It was technically better but it even had the audiophiles arguing about whether the difference was really detectable - and if it was you needed about £5000 worth of gear before the difference became apparent.

    The problem with these new formats is that the old formats give most people more than they actually need. In fact people are quite happy to purchase restricted inferior MP3 or AAC encoded tracks from various webstores for almost as much as the CD in a shop would cost.

    Also with movies becoming available to purchase online I believe that physical media formats are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Blu Ray is going to have a really tough time of it before finally becoming IMO only a niche product.

  16. Tim Toh

    HiDef of old movies?

    What corporations are forgetting (and the public doesn't) is that the DVD was significantly cleaner than VHS, remastered movies looked much better.

    The step from DVD to BluRay is not so significant. On top of that, nowadays you can find DVD players that upscale the normal DVDs resolution to HD, which is exactly what the studios would do to in order to re-issue the old movies to BluRay. So why bother?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    four letters:


    And sony do it again:






    who's next?

  18. Joe K

    Well duh!

    You didn't need a new TV to notice the benefit DVD brought, that and lack of degredation, rewinding, size, ect, ect.

  19. Paul

    Multiplicity of DVD players

    One of the main things stopping us moving to blueray is that we have multiple DVD players and baulk at the prospect of getting a disk that will then only be playable on one device. IMO if they want to increase the take up of blueray they should include a vanilla (i.e. just the film or whatever) DVD copy of in with each blueray so can people buy them knowing they can still watch the film on their other DVD players (or rip to their portable media device).

  20. jason

    Have to say......

    .....I can think of better things to spend £25 on than the latest Hollywood 'remake' on Blu-Ray in the current economic climate.

    Especially when I can buy a perfectly servicable copy on DVD for £3 or even borrow it from the library for £2!

    HD viewing is something I can happily pass on for the time being. I'm in no rush, I can wait.

  21. Matt


    the problem with dvd-blue-ray as opposed to vhs-dvd is the expense... not only do you require a £300 player, but you also need to update your TV - another £500 bill...

    and to lots of people the leap isnt nearly as dramatic as vhs-dvd... the sound and picture is sharper, but thats it... DVD offered menus, instant chapter skipping, extra features, angles, etc, just like the extras on a blue-ray (which tend to be SD anyway!) most people find DVD more than adequate especally when compared toupgrading from the fuzzy, jittery, muffled VHS offering...

    as for me... THX sound, BD + HDTV and i love it... but renting? £4 to rent or£12-£15 to own... with the speed of decent releases, its the latter for me! :)

  22. Solomon Grundy

    Small Wonder

    Why would anyone shift? Unless you've got all the gear that you need to see the improvement in picture quality it's exactly the same as a DVD.

    Waste of money.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    required a title is

    Well fancy that. The new HD format is, for most people and most content, not significantly more valuable than the old format. And yet people don't want to flock to the stores to spend hundreds of dollars/pounds on overpriced HD kit and then be ripped off yet again on overpriced HD content. Who'd have thought it?

  24. RichardB

    Not just consumers

    But the video stores to blame too - choice of rental BluRay is poor at best.

    Also - at what point did they think - hmm £20 for a film they can get for £5 on DVD sounds reasonable?

    Almost went HDDVD when they were doing the big sell off a month or so ago - if they had gone into the market at that price then it would have been a runaway success (at least in terms of market share, if not $$$s earned).

  25. Chika
    Thumb Down

    Anyone remember Laserdiscs?

    Consider, if you will, the sorry tale of the LD. In theory, it whopped VHS but it had a very low uptake. Why? Well, think about what VHS gave us back then. OK, it was lower quality but it was recordable, it had been around for a while and it was cheap.

    It took some time for DVD to really take off but, now that it has, what possible reason do we have for suddenly repurchasing our entire back catalogue on a new, more expensive format? Higher quality picture? As LD proved years ago, that just isn't enough.

    (And yes, this was posted from my Acorn!)

  26. Eddie Johnson

    Its all economics

    I will buy a home DVD player when 2 things happen. Bluray disks must be available for the same price as standard DVD and that includes hitting the bargain bin for about $5 and I want a disk changer for under $200.

    I will buy a computer burner when blank media falls from its current $12 to $5. Even at $5 its not cost comparable to DVD but I'm allowing for convenience.

    The manufacturers need to stop pricing for early adopters who are willing to pay a premium. Once they do that they will see mass adoption.

    Pirates. Because right now they are acting like them and that is preventing me from doing the same.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    It could be that no one goes to Blockbusters any more.

    Ahoy there maties, avast the torrents

  28. Toastan Buttar
    Paris Hilton

    Not a big enough difference... justify forking out for a new player and telly. DVD's had the following important benefits over VHS:

    1. Random access instead of tiresome rewinds.

    2. Sharper picture.

    3. Less prone to mangling by some other person's crappy machine.

    The only benefit of going to an HD format is even sharper pictures. If you're watching a film, you forget about the picture quality as soon as you start following the story, and frankly standard DVD is 'good enough'. Hell, I still watch my old VHS films and never let the slightly lower quality of reproduction interfere with my enjoyment.

    It's just the law of diminishing returns and for most people, DVD is perfectly adequate.

    Paris, because she still likes to record on VHS.

  29. Jez Caudle

    Difference in qulaity

    The difference between VHS and DVD is huge - the same difference between cassette and CD.

    The difference between DVD and Blu-ray is not that obvious at first glance.

    Also having bought our music library first on vinyl and then cassette and then again on CD and then bought it on iTunes because we managed to find the CD case but the CD was missing; then having bought our film library on VHS and then DVD - we don't have any money to buy it all again on over priced Blu-ray.

    A good song is a good song even if it sounds muffled with loads of hiss on a cassette. Steps will always sound shite even at 48bit, 196hz. I'll stick to my well made films and enjoy them, the video quality not being important.

    Yes, I am starting to get old and I sound like my dad.

  30. David Hicks

    I tried to go Blu

    I have the full HD LCD TV, I have the PS3, I figured it was time to watch a Bluray movie and se if I could tell the difference.

    I tried going in to my local blockbuster several times, only to find that the Bluray selection was not only more pricey but very small and consisted entirely of total dross. After my fourth visit over as many weeks, I eventually settled on "Diary of the Dead" a film which I'd been told was awful but I thought might at least be a laugh.

    Got it home, no joy, PS3 says no because I bought it in Japan and the film is region 2 only. Bugger that then eh!

    DVD still looks fine to me, and at least I can get a multi-region player for that.

  31. Mike

    Won't be buying

    Until all of my DVD players go tits up. There is simply no reason to upgrade. My current television still has a few more years left in it, so no reason to upgrade to HD, therefore no reason to get HD compatible gear. So all things considered I am probably about 5 years out from buying BD, or HD.

  32. adnim Silver badge


    the VHS to DVD had a noticeable benefit, smaller media, higher quality and worked on your existing TV to name but three. OK a new player was required.

    I have yet to be convinced that the quality difference between DVD and Blue-Ray is worth the hassle of replacing the DVD player, TV and the existing DVD titles that one has. I will be moving to Blue-Ray when I have no choice.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Colour me unsurprised

    The hardcore home cinema junkies will have already got their HD TVs, BR players and the movies they want to watch, whereas for the average punter who can't see anything wrong with their existing DVDs and SD TV there's currently no hugely compelling reason to upgrade, even without figuring in the state of the global economy.

    Two things need to happen before BR will really fly.

    The first lies in the hands of the studios: get the content out there and make it compelling. For starters, stagger the launch of BR and DVD editions of new movies. This one is ridiculously easy. Further, there just doesn't seem to be the catalogue of BR movies on the shelves. Presumably this is steadily being fixed as more BR versions are created, though it would help if there weren't so many straight transfers of existing DVD editions to the HD format which look, to our average punter, like a pure exercise in charging you more for something you already have.

    The second big push will come from the analogue switch-off. In those territories where analogue is currently top of the pile, inevitably many people will take the opportunity to upgrade their whole setup rather than just bolt a digibox on the back.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    To pricey

    So BooRay is to expensive, well smack my face with a kipper.

    Sony are you listening??? LOWER the prices and folk will buy them. HD-DVD disks are still selling at 4 or 5 quid and the stores must still be making a margin on them or they wouldn't bother so how you can continue to chuck out disks at £20 a pop is beyond me.

    £6.99 for SD Transformers, £15.99 for BD Transformers and they wonder why the take up rate is slow??

  35. Peyton

    well duh

    The shift from VHS to DVD had a MAJOR draw that DVD to Blu-ray cannot possibly copy: you no longer had to $@!#$* rewind those tapes.

    It sounds silly - but I'd bet money that was a compelling feature for a lot of folks (myself included)

  36. Hywel Thomas

    Too expensive, ya think ?


    £3 DVD

    £14 Blu-Ray

    Same film. Similar experience. Blu-Ray isn't worth the 300+% premium.

    Why even rent of you can buy something like this for £3 ?

  37. Luke Wells
    Paris Hilton

    You what?

    Swap my DVD's for Blueray?


    If I own it on DVD already then it was probably released before HD and as such I am going to get no benefit from ebaying my "old" DVD on ebay for £2 and spending £30 on the new ultra mega improved with 82 hours of unseen footage and directors commentary in 47 languages blueray version am I ?

    I swapped my VHS tapes for DVD because there was a huge benefit (no more re-winding, huge improvements in sound and video quality, smaller size, longer life etc)

    Blue ray means that if I have a big expensive HD TV (I have a big inexpensive non-HD telly thanks) then blueray discs will look slightly better than DVD...... whoop-de-f*cking-doo I wonder why people are not buying them as fast as they want them to.

    Paris, because she's due to be replaced by a newer, hotter sluttier model any moment now.

  38. Mark

    Why BluRay

    The could have put a movie Super-Bit style on a DVD with full HiDef resolution with the new compression techniques. DVI and ordinary upscaling DVD players already "output" HiDef.

    So there was NO *technical* need for Blu Ray or HD-DVD.

    The reason for it was to put tighter controls on users using their DVD in "non-approved" ways. Like, oh, making a DVD copy of the kids' disney movie so that THAT gets scratched, not the individual (ensuring there's never a bargain-bin Disney DVD). To ensure that region encoding cannot this time be bypassed (so fixing prices in a region).

    DVDs no longer gave them the control over what you bought.

    So they had to have new hardware that gave them that control.

    Unfortunately for sales, this extra control only benefits the studios and costs the customer.

    Hence the slow uptake.

  39. John

    Early adopter who won't buy blueray player

    I've got a blueray drive for my PC which is connected via hdmi to my TV so can enjoy the HD content. However, I won't buy a standalone blueray player until they actually offer a profile 2.0 player at a reasonable price that doesn't have features missing. I'm not buying a player only so get half of what the disc can offer!

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    >And sony do it again:






    >who's next?


  41. Iain

    Agree with most of the above...

    Blu-Ray will pick up, but it's gonna take years. unfortunately, judging by the noises come from my CRT TV, I'll be in the market for HD kit pretty soon but to be honest I'd rather have waited till the premium prices collapsed. I guess most folks will be waiting till their perfectly good CRTs give out, and even then there's going to be a trade off - what will I have to look forward too? Excellent upscaled DVD and Blu-Ray playback but pretty grubby SD Freeview until the number of HD channels on freesat makes it worthwhile to move to that (Murdoch isn't getting a penny of my hard earned). Grumble, moan etc...

  42. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Price and copy protection

    DVD Players are dirt cheap, Blu-ray is not.

    The quality increase from DVD to HD is not dramatic unless your TV set is 42" and over. Also you need a HD TV with 24Hz mode to get smooth motion with blu-ray as the films are encoded to the same frame rate at the original cinema print.

    DVD's can be ripped and transferred to other devices like phones, mp3/mp4 players etc.. Some people like to backup the DVDs for use in the car or so they don't get damaged by their children.

  43. Eddie Edwards

    Well ...

    I've got a Blu-Ray player (PS3). I've got a 42" 1080p TV. I have about 4 movies on Blu-Ray. None of them is worth getting on Blu-Ray over DVD given the price difference but I thought I'd give it a go. Unfortunately I have to sit on the floor in front of the TV to see any difference between DVD and 1080p BD. So I do that sometimes and go "ooh". The start of Cars looks phenomenal close-up. But I either need a smaller living room or a bigger TV to really make this shit pay.

  44. Alexis Vallance

    HD TV

    With VHS>DVD you could keep the same TV.

    With Blu Ray you need a new TV to gain advantage.

    Some of us are still happily using 21" CRTs in their front room!

  45. Matthew

    No media

    Not wanting to repeat everything already said but the biggest problem I've seen with BD is the lack of software, the average shop has nothing worth buying. There's still loads of great films that haven't had a proper DVD release yet so by the time there's a decent BD version of them the format will be obsolete.

  46. Chad H.

    @ peyton

    You hit the nail on the head there. My eyes and ears aren't good enough to tell the difference between the two discs, so there's no reason for me to go hd. I need another reason to upgrade. DVDs offered conviemience (rewinding) and reliability. The only feature of blu that might win me us capacity: an entire season of tv on one disc is worth considering.

  47. Marty McFly
    Black Helicopters

    Yeah, what everyone else said, plus....

    ... Anyone remember DIVX? Put out by Circuit City. This was the DVD watch the movie once, then throw the disc away format. If you watch it again, the player 'phones home' and your credit card is charged.

    ... As for Blu-Ray disc changers... I am befuddled why they are not in the market place. CD/DVD changers have been around for years. It is not like something new needs to be invented. Pull the DVD drive out, toss in a BD drive, and use the same changing mechanism.

    Oh wait... They want the first adopters to pay a premium for a single disc BD drive today. Then they will roll out the changers tomorrow and get the early adopters to pay again.

    Methinks Hollywood is in bed with product vendors. I too am avoiding the market until it becomes a commodity. Not enough reason to upgrade.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    @Hywel Thomas + Others.

    Nice trick you did there, pick somehting in the DVD sale, and compare it to a BD not in the sale.. Still there are endless amounts of clueless idiots that will fall for your trick.

    Here is the REAL story: (

    Cloverfield DVD: 11.99

    Cloverfield Blu-Ray: £14.99

    The amount of comments here, it looks like the remaining HD DVD owners club has come here on an afternoon out to try and convince us that HD does not matter anymore, now their beloved format is bin material...

    As for the idiots that can't see the difference between 576i SD and 720p/1080p proper HD, all I can suggest is either head to the opticians, or stop buying your "HD" televisions at supermarkets.

    Paris, as even she is smart enough to see almost every post so far has a anti-Sony/anti-BD hidden agenda....

  49. muttley

    Lesson learnt from CD/SACD fiasco

    Ignoring people who fit in one or more of the following categories:

    1) write for gadget mags for a living with associated gravy-train "loaner" free gear

    2) Have surplus disposable income + every other toy they need, you know the type

    3) Just HAVE to have the latest whatever

    Blu-ray doesn't offer the sort of paradigm shift that vinyl=>CD did.

  50. Adam Williamson
    Thumb Down


    Yep, just to add another voice to the chorus, it's simply about the price of content.

    I've got a really good Blu-Ray player, with all the latest features, like millions of other people do - it's called a PS3. I've got a couple of Blu-Ray movies, and yeah, the quality is amazing.

    But it's really freaking hard to pay $40 for a movie. It's just not going to happen, I'm afraid. Brand new releases here in Canada are $20 on DVD and $40 on Blu-Ray. Blu-Rays never ever seem to get discounted below $25, even the really bad ones.

    Ironically what this means is I've stopped buying movies entirely. I don't want to buy the DVD because I want the quality of Blu-Ray, but I'm damned if I'm forking out $40 to get the Blu-Ray.

    So I just go do something else instead, or watch it in a theater.

    I guess I could rent them, but there are no movie rental places within 20 minutes of my apartment, thanks to the decline of the movie rental business...


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