Criterion's audience is a lot less niche than it ever used to be, in the LD days or the DVD era before they were able to snag as many major studio properties as they do now.
krnash wrote:Criterion caters to film buffs. I guess it seems almost hypocritical to me that there would be people out there concerned with film history enough to collect Criterion's canon but unwilling to make a $40 blu-ray player purchase.
I get what you're saying, but Criterion caters to all kinds of people who borrow and buy movies. Most Criterion titles are relatively niche films, but the major films have a lot of crossover and so Criterion has to pay attention to mainstream opinion about decisions like this.
Many (I want to say most) of them watch things on what I would call small displays, so the difference in picture quality is scarcely noticeable in most cases.
Still, if it's easy to overestimate the size of the BD market, as vsski says, then it's probably even easier to overestimate the size of the DVD market. Last year, DVD sales dropped 13.6% over the previous year, part of a years-long decline. I still buy DVDs when it makes sense to do so, but the market for the format is clearly going away. Blu-ray hasn't been strong enough to save the physical media market, but it's (barely) holding its own, and I think those who care about owning physical media should help support it whenever they can.
The really strong areas of the market are box office revenues and streaming. If physical formats are going to increasingly become a niche market, then it makes sense for the Blu-ray format to predominate there. More and more mainstream viewers who care little or not at all about optimal A/V are abandoning physical formats for streaming, with a certain number passively adopting Blu-ray. When people ask why anyone who still buys physical media in 2014 is still limited to DVD, I think they're asking why the transition I'm describing hasn't happened faster. I agree that it's puzzling. Criterion DVDs aren't exactly cheap like most other DVDs are, so why would someone who cares enough to want to buy media to build a physical library not pay a bit more (especially those who can take advantage of B&N 50% off sales etc.) to get the current and superior format?