Originally Posted by fryet
So long as HDTVs are outnumbered by old TVs, you can't call the players anything but niche either.
The problem is, "old TVs" (i.e., standard definition), cannot display the full resolution of DVDs (4:3 480p, and 16:9 480p anamorphic).
So does that mean progressive scanned DVD players are niche? They were at one time, now probably 90%-95% of the DVD players sold are progressive scanned, and of those probably 90%-95% are either not connected to TVs which can display a progressive picture, or if they are connected to an ED or HD TV, are not connected via component cables.
Several things have to happen for HD formats to gain the level of penetration needed to not be "niche".
The format war needs to be won. The players' component costs and subsequent prices has to fall like a rock (just like the original DVD players eventually did). These two things will cause the market to bifurcate, and there will be no reason for a standard DVD player priced greater than $50. Today's "midmarket" (i.e., $50 to $150) DVD players are upscaling models with HDMI outputs. Two years ago the midmarket player was a progressive scanned model with a built-in DTS decoder. Two years before that it was a progressive scanned model which did not have a built-in DTS decoder.
When the HD format DVD reaches that point, most new mainstream purchases will be capable of playing HD format discs. Then standard and HD discs will be like fullscreen and widescreen DVDs today. Two options.
This will not happen at the same rate DVD player adoption did because DVD was one format. Also, for most people, DVD is "good enough".
But DVD formats have not driven HD sales, ESPNHD and other HD sports broadcasts have.