While streaming video services such as Netflix have lost consumer confidence by raising their prices, Blu-ray continues to make inroads into U.S. households now that more affordable Blu-ray media players have encouraged consumers to turn from DVD. In 2011, Blu-ray disc sales in the U.S. increased by 35%, and overall global sales are up 45% since 2010. The next year promises further growth, as analysts have predicted that Blu-Ray will ultimately outstrip DVD in 2012.

Blu-Ray for Film

Film enthusiasts are especially looking forward to 2012, as distributors are planning to release several hotly-anticipated titles for the Blu-ray media format. This month, for instance, the Criterion Collection announced that it will be releasing a four disc set in March containing three new titles as well as Blu-ray upgrades for Martin Scorsese’s The Last Temptation of Christ, Roy Ward Baker’s A Night to Remember and David Lean’s Brief Encounter. Not only will these discs offer HD picture quality, but will also contain a variety of extras such as interviews, essays and commentaries.

Blu-Ray for TV

TV show collectors will not be left behind, either, as CBS Entertainment has announced that it plans to release seasons from Star Trek: The Next Generation starting in the month of January. Instead of simply converting from videotape to Blu-Ray media, the company plans to use original film negatives in order to produce the high-definition picture quality long desired by fans. The first disc, which includes the pilot episode “Encounter at Farpoint,” is expected to become available in stores by the end of next month.

Blu-Ray Boxed Sets

Other anticipated titles for 2012 include the Indiana Jones series, Titanic, Jaws, Finding Nemo, the complete Blu-Ray Star Wars saga and the definitive boxed set for the Harry Potter series, giving consumers several great reasons to purchase a Blu-ray player this holiday season.

More Affordable Blu-Ray Players

Those interested in finding a great Blu-ray player for 2012 should also be pleased, as more affordable prices and advances in technology have led to a variety of models with high performance and great features. The Oppo BDP-83, for example, has been praised by reviewers for its ability to play nearly every kind of optical disc available, from DVDs to less-common SACDs. It also loads and plays Blu-ray media at blazing fast speeds and offers a multitude of connectivity options for users with older systems.

Blu-Ray in 3-D

More importantly, the growing popularity of 3D movies has led to an increase in the demand for home theater devices that utilize this technology. While 3D Blu-ray players are more expensive than their DVD counterparts, they produce unmatched audio and video quality that will make the most out of any 3D HDTV. Sony’s BDP S770, for instance, is expected to be popular because it offers many features such as multiple streaming services, remote connectivity for Apple products and 1GB of storage space – all at a lower price when compared to other models.

With these upcoming products, Blu-ray’s once uncertain future now looks secure as more film and television companies switch to Blu-ray media to release their titles. While competition remains with streaming services, consumers who want the best picture quality will turn to Blu-ray.