Blu-ray making greenbacks, sales up 72% to start '09

Congratulations Blu-ray, you might be ready to step into the zone of mass market acceptance, as NPD's retail tracking service found Q1 sales of standalone players up 72 percent over last year, moving over 400,000 units with a 14% increase in dollar sales. Last year sure the format survived mad fights but high prices were a setback; fast forward to March when an online survey of 6,994 people found awareness has reached 90 percent in the last six months, with customers fascinated by its updates. Although BD-Live is looking more and more like an unneeded gimmick, the real facts are people care about cost and average player prices dropped from $393 last year to $261 in 2009. The "Blu-ray report" suggests the magic number is $214 for folks like Shawn Marion, so more room might be needed to breeze, and could come as soon as this fall around the time Vizio's player finally appears. It might be tragic for Vudu, CBHD and others trying to get a foothold, but Blu-ray's magic wand is word of mouth - so while much talked about, but much lower selling tech like Kindle is happy as hell to get a record deal, right now Blu-ray's unique skills can't be compared.