This year, the number of households owning at least one Blu-ray disc player has doubled since 2008 -- as of July 2010, 17 percent of American homes have one, thanks in no small part to PlayStation 3 consoles.
Although the number represents less than one household in five, it's still higher than the U.S. penetration of Netflix, which is about 15 percent, reports Home Media Magazine
, citing a new report from market intelligence firm Centris.
A considerable 20 million U.S. households own both a Blu-ray player and a DVD player, according to the report. Among those Blu-ray owners, though, 45 percent have a stand-alone player -- and 47 percent watch those discs on a PS3. PS3 once had almost a two-to-one advantage over stand-alone Blu-ray players, a gap that's closed over the past six months.
The addition of a Blu-ray drive to the PS3 was initially somewhat controversial. Many consumers questioned the demand for a Blu-ray drive in the face of the PS3's unprecedentedly high launch price, but when HD-DVD players retired from the format war and the console's cost came down, the issue became far less-discussed.
Centris' report suggests that the PS3 was actually one of the primary drivers of Blu-ray adoption in the home, and that the format will have to expand beyond the PS3 audience if Blu-ray players are to see continuing growth.
DVD is still the primary format for video rental, the report continues. However, it also finds that those who own Blu-ray players are more active video consumers, renting and buying discs in higher numbers. Much of that Blu-ray audience is "younger, wealthier households with children," it says, which might explain the finding that Blu-ray households are more likely to own an HDTV and a video game console, at 75 percent versus 62 percent of DVD households.
"Although more Blu-ray households rented or purchase DVDs than they did Blu-ray discs, BD households actually rented or purchased more Blu-ray titles and DVD on average," says Centris' research.