NEWS: Blu-ray Disc Association sees big challenges ahead in making Blu-ray mainstream

The Blu-ray Disc Association is (unsurprisingly) delighted that Toshiba has killed off HD DVD, but says there are serious challenges ahead in turning Blu-ray into a mainstream format and the high-definition successor to DVD.

"Now that the format war has been put aside, it's great to be able to focus on the challenge of taking Blu-ray disc to the heart of the home entertainment industry," says Victor Matsuda, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association global promotions committee.

But Matsuda is far from complacent: "Our challenge is to convert our success in this relatively small market into a mass-market phenomena," he says.

He welcomed the decision by Paramount and Universal – the last two Hollywood studios to back HD DVD – to start releasing Blu-ray titles.

Asked about speculation that Blu-ray's success in the format war may have come too late as the format will face stiff competition from internet movie downloads, Matsuda said: "We do not live in a vacuum and technology does not stand still, so I would never say that HD movie downloads won't ever play some role in the home entertainment market. However, I believe this is a long-term, future scenario."

Other Blu-ray developments this week include the news that the Oscar-winning film No Country For Old Men will be released on Blu-ray in the US on March 11.

The Cohen brothers epic will feature an AVC MPEG-4 video transfer in 1080p, and a PCM 5.1 audio soundtrack sampled at 24-bit/48kHz. That's one test disc we certainly want to get our hands on!

Still Stateside, Sony has unveiled its next-gen Blu-ray players. And PC manufacturer Acer has announced that it will promote a range of Blu-ray disc-based notebooks later this year.

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