Sony’s next-generation Blu-ray disc (BD) format was supposed to prove its market viability during the 2008 holiday selling season. Given that no one was buying much of anything, BD’s future remains up in the air.

However, systems integrators seem to be ready to recommend BD as the best choice to bring high-definition (HD) video into the home. A survey by leading trade publication CEPro found that among the more than 100 responses received from electronic systems consultants, Blu-ray players were the first choice.

Dissenters called for HD solutions ranging from satellite to Verizon’s fiber cable–based FiOS to Apple TV and VuDu. A JP Morgan study last year found that only 62 percent of respondents were even aware of Blu-ray.

However, the familiarity of a disc-based format won the majority of the CEPro respondents over. Market research firm Futuresource estimated that approximately 36 million Blu-ray discs were sold worldwide last year, with 24 million sold in the U.S. in 2008. Sales in this country are expected to top 80 million this year, the company says. And a separate study from SNL Kagan found that despite BD’s sluggish start, the next-generation HD packaged–media format would attain nearly 60 percent market share by 2014 and generate $13.1 billion in revenue, growing to 73.8 percent/$15.6 billion by 2017. The Consumer Electronics Association estimates that Blu-ray decks have the potential to double this year to roughly 5.7 million units. So it appears it would be worthwhile to keep Blu-ray on the home theater radar.