Blu-ray. Have You Heard of It?

Sit down at a cafe in Paris and begin talking about your latest Blu-ray movie purchase, and odds are your French neighbors will have no idea what you're talking about. Try the same at a Manhattan bar and the barflies will likely get the gist.

That's the takeaway from a new Interpret study about Blu-ray awareness levels. About 60% of Americans were familiar with the format, as of January 2008, while only 30% of French consumers had a clue. British, German and Japanese consumers fell somewhere in between.

The Blu-ray format has barely existed for two years, so its no surprise that the marketing campaign hasn't spread to every corner of the world, but based on the media blitz about Blu-ray here in the U.S., it is hard to imagine that anyone could avoid it. Yet, 40% of us have managed to steer clear of all things Blu-ray.

About 9% of U.S. Households have a high-definition disc player (this includes HD DVD), but that number won't grow as easily as the percentage of households with a DVD player did (that's now at 91%), according to the study. The reason: When DVD players debuted, they didn't require the purchase of a special TV. Blu-ray players, of course, can't shine without an HDTV. -Rachel Rosmarin