Video rental company, Netflix, is reporting that they have toped the 500,000 mark for people subscribing to their service who want their movies sent in 1080p video on a Blu-ray discs. This number is not insignificant as other HD audio and video formats such as HD DVD, SACD and DVD-Audio never had that kind of market share. Additionally, Netflix charges a $1 premium for Blu-ray discs but consumers don't seem to mind.
The video difference between a traditional DVD-Video disc at 480i versus a 1080p movie is not inconsequential when seen by the mainstream consumer. The high-definition image just looks that much better. 1080p also lets people get the full potential of their flat HDTVs. Cable and satellite tend to broadcast in 720p or 1080i resolutions which are still HD but not the full HD experience.
Netflix's success is a big feather in the cap of Blu-ray as a format. This holiday season will also be very telling for the future of the format as the prices of machines are dropping below $200 per player thus are no longer for the early adopter.
Blu-ray has to be careful however as high-definition video content can be downloaded from the Internet on a pay basis and while Netflix is fully aware of this phenomenon - they need to be prepared for a day when people want huge pay-per-view catalogs in full HD on demand. Believe it or not - that day is not too far away but for now Blu-ray represents the best picture you can get for your HDTV and consumers are set to buy more players this Holiday season than ever before.