Blu-ray Outsells HD-DVD Two To One

HD-DVD to take over in run up to Christmas?

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Blu-ray Outsells HD-DVD Two To One
Blu-ray DVDs have outsold HD-DVDs by almost two-to-one in the U.S. over the first nine months of this year according to one source at least.

The figures, which come from Home Media Research, show that from January 1st to September 30th, Blu-ray movie sales totalled 2.6 million in the States, 1.2 million more than the 1.4 million HD-DVDs that have been sold.

The news carries a bit of a sting for Microsoft, which has thrown its lot in with HD-DVD rather than the Sony-backed Blu-ray camp. Analysts, however, are predicting that additional studio support and exclusive hit releases and content could boost HD-DVD's performance in the back end of the year.

Specifically, Paramount and DreamWorks joined the HD-DVD camp back in August. Paramount says that it's summer blockbuster, Transformers, has had the biggest HD-DVD debut to date, racking up 100,000 sales on its first day of release last week. The title features Web-enabled features, the likes of which have been seen previously in titles such as 300. Gerry Kaufhold, analyst with In-Stat research firm believes that features like this could drive a better HD-DVD performance in the year's fourth quarter.

Meanwhile Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, reckons that the 18 month exclusivity of Paramount and DreamWorks releases to HD-DVD will push the format. "This definitely smooths out the edge that Blu-ray had in exclusive titles and it very much strengthens HD-DVD's hand in the fourth quarter", he said. He still believes that Blu-ray will win out for the year, however.

One major advantage for Blu-ray is that the PS3, despite a troubled sales record, actually ships with a Blu-ray player, while 360 owners are required to buy a HD-DVD playing peripheral. Should rumours of a Toshiba/Microsoft partnership to produce a 360 with (among other things) a built-in HD-DVD player prove true, the playing field should be levelled out somewhat.

Home Media estimates that since both formats launched in Spring last year, 4.98 million high-definition titles have been sold, including 3.01 million in Blu-ray and 1.97 million in HD-DVD.

"It's going to be 2008 before the dust will really starts to settle. For now, its like watching a yacht race", Kaufhold added. He thinks that growing consumer confusion and no sign of a clear winner in the format war will result in more dual players being released, such as those made by South Korea's LG Electronics Inc.
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Comments

realvictory 24 Oct 2007 13:37
1/13
I think that if people care about high-definition movies, they will buy a PS3 (if they were going to buy either console, that is). There will be fewer people who buy an XBox 360 to play HD movies, and the people who buy a standalone HD-DVD player will be rarer.

To be quite honest, I don't see what the whole fuss is about strictly keeping to one format or another anyway - just release both. Only when one format stops selling do you need to stop producing for it.

I think what needs to be done, though, to interest more people, is to release more older films in HD, because people aren't going to waste hundreds of pounds/dollars only to be able to watch one or two films that they like, they want to be able to watch any film they like.

Anyway, going back to my first point, I hope Blu-ray does succeed, because I have a PS3 and will want to watch Blu-ray films (albeit not every film I've ever seen, just because it's HD, but my favourite films, in the best quality), whereas I doubt most people who own an XBox 360 ("instead" of a PS3) will care so much.
Joji 24 Oct 2007 14:43
2/13
I'm putting my stake on the opposite side, in the HD-DVD camp. While the benefits of Blu Ray are sweet, I'd prefer the region free aspects of it.

I have a 360 but not a HD-DVD drive. Once the price comes down a bit, I may then get one. Nice to see Transformers on it though.

Ultimately, I'm still happy enough with normal DVD, as I watch and import a lot of anime etc. What Sony and to a degree Toshiba are trying to do with new formats by changing the region codes, is confusing and annoying, and DVD recorders haven't even been given a chance.
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LUPOS 24 Oct 2007 14:51
3/13
realvictory wrote:
I think that if people care about high-definition movies, they will buy a PS3 (if they were going to buy either console, that is). There will be fewer people who buy an XBox 360 to play HD movies, and the people who buy a standalone HD-DVD player will be rarer.


Au contraier... countrair? Whatever... anyway, HD-DVD stand alone players actually sell nearly twice as many as blu-ray stand alone players. The ONLY reason Blu-
Ray has the support it does is because of the PS3 Trojan horse. While that was obviously a good route to temp studios in with at the begining as the ps3 sales have been rather lack luster some studios have obviously lost some faith in sonys abilities to secure a win.

The HD-DVD spec is more well locked in place, most early titles look better on HD-DVD than blu-ray because for most of the first year people could only make single layer BR's which = less space than the dual layer HD-DVDs. Not to mention ALL HD-DVD players are required to be network ready so they can be updated with newer firmware. It's because of that that the fancy web based features have appeared on HD-DVD's while no blu-ray to date has had anything similar. Add to that the fact the an HD-DVD costs about half as much as a BR to make and you've got a compelling argument for the HD camp.

Unless sony manages to facilitate a miraculous turn around for the PS3 in the next 6-9 months I feel pretty confident more studios will jump ship, or at least go multi format, And once you get rid of the exclusives cost becomes the major deciding factor and HD has that on lock down. Truth be told, had the PS3 come out as strongly as many anticipated it would then this fight would already be over. As is things are just getting interesting.
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Ethan 24 Oct 2007 14:58
4/13
I think HD-DVD is 'winning' in Europe, which let's face it is where we all care about. I'd like to see worldwide sales.

If I were buying (I have neither) I'd get HD-DVD, it has a smattering of really great films (Children of Men) amongst the popcorn s**t that proliferates both formats.

Yeah, I like 'art' films, so the studios I want to see aren't really on HD yet, the ones that do are using HD-DVD because it's a tad less expensive.

And anyway, if you just want eye candy, both formats have Planet Earth in a month or two, which actually has a few of the most beautiful sights ever put to film.
Moon 24 Oct 2007 17:57
5/13
Have use Sony products in the past, I have opted for HD DVD. Why, because I no longer trust Sony to deliver. SACD, UMD and the root kit in audio CD that lock up your CD drive.
Both my Sony DVD player and Sony DVD burner are unable to read DVD if they have the slightest Scratch.
tyrion 24 Oct 2007 18:49
6/13
LUPOS wrote:
The ONLY reason Blu-Ray has the support it does is because of the PS3 Trojan horse. While that was obviously a good route to temp studios in with at the begining as the ps3 sales have been rather lack luster some studios have obviously lost some faith in sonys abilities to secure a win.

And yet something like 80% of all HD-DVD or Blu-ray players in the US are (or are attached to) games consoles, with there being many more PS3s sold than 360 HD-DVD drives. Those are old figures, but the point is that the PS3 is vastly outselling standalone players from both camps. I think this is mainly due to the price being low versus the standalone players until recently.

LUPOS wrote:
Add to that the fact the an HD-DVD costs about half as much as a BR to make and you've got a compelling argument for the HD camp.

There was a recent story about Blu-ray disc costs coming down to DVD levels, I think this issue is going away.

I'm not a betting man, but I'm pretty sure that Blu-ray will win this one, just in time for DLC to kick it in the arse. :-)
realvictory 24 Oct 2007 18:59
7/13
LUPOS wrote:
Au contraier... countrair? Whatever... anyway, HD-DVD stand alone players actually sell nearly twice as many as blu-ray stand alone players. The ONLY reason Blu-
Ray has the support it does is because of the PS3 Trojan horse. While that was obviously a good route to temp studios in with at the begining as the ps3 sales have been rather lack luster some studios have obviously lost some faith in sonys abilities to secure a win.


As I said (or at least, meant), people buy PS3s to watch movies, people probably don't buy XBox 360's to watch movies. Which is what we're talking about - it's not about how does the PS3 sell vs. the XBox 360, but more about what encourages a person to watch one format rather than the other. The PS3 does encourage people to watch Blu-ray (guaranteed, because the Blu-ray player is built-in) whereas the Xbox 360 doesn't necessarily encourage people to watch HD-DVD rather than Blu-ray. They could buy a separate HD-DVD player, but probably won't (i.e. the majority of XBox 360 owners probably don't watch HD-DVD on their XBox 360; the majority of console-owners wouldn't necessarily care about HD movies, except that the PS3 has it built-in). In other words, current sales of the XBox 360 are almost irrelevant to the topic of HD Movies.
jordanlund 24 Oct 2007 19:35
8/13
So... in an entire year, the total number of Blu-Ray discs sold is about half of what Transformers sold on DVD in a single day.

This is the bit that nobody in the HD Arena cares to mention... It doesn't matter how well Blu-Ray does over HD-DVD or vice versa, neither format is threatening DVD in any way, shape or form.

Sales of HD media are insignificant compared to the volume that DVD runs so any argument is essentially along the lines of "HA! Take that! I have .08% of the market and you only have .06% Loser!"
tyrion 25 Oct 2007 08:35
9/13
jordanlund wrote:
This is the bit that nobody in the HD Arena cares to mention... It doesn't matter how well Blu-Ray does over HD-DVD or vice versa, neither format is threatening DVD in any way, shape or form.

The reason it does matter is because when DVD gets replaced, the backers of these formats want it to be by their disc. If only one of them remains at that point, it's a walkover.

This is why the comparisons to VHS and Beta are faulty at best in this format "war" - in the days of video cassettes there was no format being replaced so the "war" had a lot of casualties; consumers, retailers and manufacturers who chose Beta lost out. In this case, DVD will go strong for a lot of years yet, but its successor will be lined up in that time.

This battle isn't about who has control of the market now, it's about who will have control of the market next. The only issue is if the battle can be dragged on to a point where it is moot and DLC removes the need for a physical format.

This is, to my mind, the card that Microsoft is playing in backing HD-DVD, it has more to gain in providing the streaming server software for DLC than it does in promoting a physical disc. Remember that both Blu-ray and HD-DVD use Microsoft's VC1 codec in their standards; Microsoft gets paid no matter which format wins. So why is Microsoft backing the format with fewer supporters in Hollywood and less capacity to offer to the data market?
jordanlund 25 Oct 2007 10:15
10/13
tyrion wrote:

The reason it does matter is because when DVD gets replaced, the backers of these formats want it to be by their disc. If only one of them remains at that point, it's a walkover.


That's just it though, the sales of both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD are so anemic that it doesn't matter which one "wins". By the time DVD is set to be replaced (my guess is around 2012 or so) there will be a new format which will sweep the floor clean of DVD, HD-DVD, Blu-Ray, the lot of them. I own both formats and I recognize that regardless of which format dominates it's never going to be anything more than a niche market in the same way that Laserdisc was.

Some folks are predicting that digital downloads are going to wipe out physical media, I don't think that will be the case. America at least is very much an instant gratification society and folks aren't going to be willing to wait on a download for something they want to watch now. FiOS is not prevalent enough to make that a reality any time soon (pre-2020).
hollywooda 25 Oct 2007 12:09
11/13
I think in the future (not too distant) it will be a misture of buying & owning HD-DVD/Bluray & downloading films, i mean how many films do you buy & never really watch again?, i have quite a lot, so if there was an option to download or stream HD films then for those one of watches that would be very useful. But the films you like or want you'll always wanna own i cant see a time when downloading or streaming becomes the only way we watch films.
realvictory 25 Oct 2007 13:44
12/13
jordanlund wrote:

Some folks are predicting that digital downloads are going to wipe out physical media, I don't think that will be the case. America at least is very much an instant gratification society and folks aren't going to be willing to wait on a download for something they want to watch now. FiOS is not prevalent enough to make that a reality any time soon (pre-2020).


I think that High Definition doesn't really benefit anyone, it's just a sales gimmick to sell "new DVD players" and resell the same movies over again.

The catch is, because it's more data on a disc, it's impractical to download the equivalent, forcing people to continue buying the disc for the "full experience." Which is probably important for the business.

The more popular downloading/streaming gets, more options will be pushed upon people to stop this from happening (at least until the content owners can gain full control over their content), e.g. when standard internet bandwidth size reaches 1GB/minute, they'll make a new format that's 1,000 times as big, forcing new to buy new players, new TVs, and rebuy your old movie collection. You'll be paying extra again, not just to cover piracy, but as much as they think they can get away with. But, at least you'll have the best quality versions.

Either way though, it's a lose-lose situation, as long as (a) DVDs are competing with HD discs, and (b) streaming quality, i.e. internet bandwidth, is tiny.

I do think, though, that they should ditch the whole lot, invest on internet bandwidth, and go the way music has gone. These days, the only reason people buy a CD is to rip the songs off it onto their mp3 player.
chuckyj1 26 Oct 2007 04:28
13/13
Doesn't really affect MS. Even if Blu-Ray wins out, which it's far form being declared the winner. But, say it is MS still doesn't have to incorperate in it's next-gen system. They have plenty of time to come up with an alternative.

Having an HD add on isn't too much support. They could just as easily release a Blu-Ray DVD player as well on down the road if they wanted to.

Now, who does MS want... Of course HD-DVD, but are they heavily invested...... No.
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