According to research firm Futuresource consulting, sales of Blu-ray discs in the US, Europe and Japan will overtake the 100 million mark within the calendar year.Much of the surge in sales of Blu-ray is expected to take place in the US, where analysts predict that sales will jump from 24 million units to excess of 80 million.If fulfilled, the predictions would serve as welcome news to Sony and other Blu-ray backers. After beating out HD-DVD as the standard for high-definition video disc formatting, the Blu-ray camp has turned its attention to the larger market.While hardware vendors have been exploring the use of Blu-ray as a storage format, video has remained its top market.The consumer electronics market Blu-ray is targettting could be spared some of the economic hardship that is battering the rest of the technology industry as money-conscious buyers opt for home entertainment over going out.Futuresource senior analyst Mai Hoang said that Europe was still considered to be in the 'early adopter' stage for the standard, with the UK leading the way in Blu-ray uptake."With sales of more than 3.5 million units in 2008, [the UK] represented over 40 per cent of the West European total," said Hoang."BD also benefited from a number of UK television campaigns during the critical fourth quarter of 2008, considerably raising consumer awareness. Factor in Sky’s high profile approach to marketing its HD service, and to a lesser extent the BBC/ITV joint venture, Freesat, and the cumulative effect has made a substantial impact upon the marketplace."The analyst firm predicts that 2009 will be another step towards a rise in Blu-ray sales that will see the format muscle standard DVD out of the market. By 2012, Futuresource predicts that Blu-ray sales will comprise 35 per cent of Western European video disc sales and half of the US market.
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