Blu-ray Hits 1,000! Sort of

No question about. Everyone likes nice, round numbers. So it caught our attention when The Hollywood Reporter noted that Blu-ray has reached the 1,000-title milestone. Sort of.

By their count, as of last week, more than 1,000 Blu-ray Discs were either on the market (841) or scheduled for release (185). That takes into account some titles that are still a ways off. For example, Disney  is planning a 70th anniversary platinum edition Blu-ray of the animated classic Pinocchio for release on March 10, 2009.

Not to take anything away from the celebration, but let's note that in fact, there are not 1,000 BD titles available. For starters, about 20% of them are only "scheduled for release." Also, some of the early Blu-ray titles are probably out of print by now, and others use some pretty marginal mastering formats and probably don't really deserve the Blu-ray name.

The real question, though, is whether — even with 1,000 titles — Blu-ray will have the critical mass needed for long-term success.

DVD is still wildly popular and many folks just don't see the need to buy a new player and pay extra for BD titles. Perhaps more seriously, online movie sources such as Netflix are gaining real traction. Netflix will begin HD streaming on November 19, and the jury is out on whether that will merely compete with Blu-ray, or signal the beginning of its demise.

Well, in all fairness, any number approaching 1,000 is still an accomplishment. That's a lot more than another HD-cough-DVD-cough disc format ever reached. —Ken C. Pohlmann