The battle between HD-DVD (high definition), backed by Toshiba, and Sony’s Blu Ray disc format that ended in February in favour of the latter is unlikely to have any short-term impact on the Indian market.
The reason is that there is hardly any high definition or blue ray content available in India. So, even if consumers are buying high-definition LCD sets, it remains of no use as there is no high definition content yet available from broadcasters. However, in the years to come, as most content players favour blue-ray for their new content, it is likely that sooner or later India would see more of blue ray content. The government plans to introduce HD transmission by 2010.
The businesses likely to be affected by the format tussle are broadcasting, television sets, DVD players and DVDs. Speaking to Hindustan Times, Suresh Khanna, secretary general of CEAMA (Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association), said, “The technology has not yet entered into the Indian market. With high definition content bandwidth is the main issue.”
Anuradha Prasad, MD of BAG Films, giving a broadcaster’s perspective, said, “For HD content, the paraphernalia, the equipment and cameras are very expensive. Digital content quality is quite good and HD content may enhance the quality, but at a prohibitive cost, which may not go down well with consumers.”
Moser Baer has set up a production facility for blue ray discs though, with plans to introduce a DVD player soon as well. However, high definition television sets are being sold. According to an industry source, a 40 inch HD LCD television set costs Rs 1,20,000.
Interestingly, when Sony added a blue ray disc player to its gaming console Playstation 3, it did itself a lot of good. Sony Playstation 3, which was introduced in India in April 2007, can play blue ray content. This is expected to boost its sales as it will be an equipment that is a game console and which doubles up as a Blue Ray disc player. Atindriya Bose, country manager-playstation, Sony Computer Entertainment informs that PS3, priced at Rs 24,000 has sold 15,000 units in India and on an average, 1,200 additional units are sold every month. Sony has introduced blue ray DVDs of as many as 30 Hollywood titles priced in the Rs 1,700-1,800 range.
Pranab Mohanty, head of consumer product division, Toshiba India said, “We never officially launched the product in India. There are no plans yet to introduce HD DVD players in India.”
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