PS3 This Year, Stand-Alone Player Next Year

Nearly twenty million consumers are so eager to jump on the high-definition disc bandwagon this year that they can't be bothered to wait for a bargain.

Even though a Sony executive all but promised that the price of Blu-ray players won't drop to $200 until 2009, a new study by Strategy Analytics says 18.8 million Blu-ray devices will be sold in 2008. Now that the format-war is over, there's no time to lose! By the end of the year, says the study, 29 million homes worldwide will have at least one Blu-ray player.

Sony's PlayStation 3 will be the Blu-ray player of choice for many consumers. About 13 million of the 29 million Blu-ray players in homes will be PS3 consoles, says Strategy Analytics. But by 2009, prices on stand-alone Blu-ray players will have dropped to the point where consumers are willing to buy them in droves, and 132 million households will have invested in some type of Blu-ray player by 2012.

Of the approximately 57.4 million Blu-ray players sold that year, Europe will be the biggest taker with 26.4 million. Perhaps that's because, four years from now, Asian and U.S. Consumers will have moved on to streaming downloads of HD movies. -Rachel Rosmarin