European consumers have bought more than 1m pre-recorded movie Blu-ray Discs, the next-gen optical disc format's backers said today. That's roughly 73 per cent of all HD discs sold in Europe in the past 12 months, they claimed. The figures were published by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) but produced by independent market …
Format war almost over
Once these new Alba players come to Europe for the same cost as a stand-alone HD-DVD player, Blu-Ray will have won and HD-DVD will go the same way that Betamax did in Europe. That doesn't mean the format will disappear completely but the majority by far will be Blu-Ray. Soon the studios that have HD-DVD exclusive content are going to be forced to release those titles on Blu-Ray or lose the potential revenue generated by high profile releases.
Bit early to judge
Its still way to early to judge Anon Coward. You've still got to wait for Joe public to start buying, and for that crowd HD-DVD means something.
I expect 99% of these purchases are early adopters and PS3 owners - not representative at all.
Yep and we picked the wrong one
HD DVD would have been a better stop gap solution until one of the more advanced storage formats, which blow either out of the water such as holograhic discs, is available at consumer prices in the not too distant future.
Blu Ray offers not much more than HD DVD when compared to the promise of some of the future tech.
The other thing is they aren't even using near to all the capacity on the Blu Ray when releasing a film on it so whats the point.
RE: Format war almost over
And I bought into the wrong one. <sobs>
I'd be amazed if either format establishes itself comparably to DVD before physical media becomes the exception and downloadable/on-demand the norm. I've already taken the Peep Show box sets off my Xmas list because it's available on 4oD, through cable or internet.
If I read this correctly, there are, and I quote, "0.6 discs per [Blu-Ray] player owner". Thats three discs for every FIVE players. What do the owners do? stand around and share? If there were five discs for every three players you would be hard pressed to call the format a success, but at this ratio?
Let me but it another way. Over one and half million people have a Blu-ray player. More the one million of them DO NOT USE IT!
Sounds like those figures might have ended this argument.
What next, should the iPhone v2 have HD-DVD or BluRay on board, or maybe we could argue as to whether or not the PS3 should play Xbox 360 games?
Because there ALWAYS has to be some silly argument, after all, it's not the internet without one!
I find that HD-DVD's are harder to find, but would certainly buy more if I could get them. Frequently I visit video stores that "have decided not to stock HD-DVD". This isn't a battle that is being won by consumer choice, rather by deals that were negotiated before the formats were released, and manipulation of supply chains. The only true way to measure the popularity of either format is to measure the sales by format of those movies that have been released in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
"not representative at all"
Really? How so? Don't see how you can say that IMHO. It'll be like dismissing all 'early adopters of HD-DVD players' and Xbox owners ... not so, they are and do buy the movies. Think what you are trying to say is that the majority of "Filmos" (as in "Musos") seem to prefer the HD-DVD to the BD. Personaly, I really don't see a difference that justifies the difference apart from the cost of a player.
I agree that it's far too early to call it almost over. Knowing the might of these two factions, it'll last a long time.
True it's a huge shot in the arm for BD, but it will take a massive amount of persuading for the big film distros to change their direction.
And ALBA.. come on.. which self respecting film buff would buy a box costing more than 20 quid from them(?!?!) Lunacy!
Well played by Sony.
To be honest, this was a foregone conclusion.
Sony put it's money where it's mouth is and put Blu-Ray into a hotly awaited console, the PS3 (however overpriced and underspec'ed at turned out for us in Euroland).
MS said it was behind HD, but then shipped the 360 with standard DVD.
Result, lots of Blu-ray players wrapped in PS3 cases appear in living rooms, but no HD players.
I have yet to see an HD player in the front room of anyone house, but I've seen quite a few PS3s.
@Philip Cheeseman, I'd much prefer to see Sony fall on their face too, but I fear it's too late. The Blu-ray/HD player price gap is starting to close. DVD producers now have a market for Blu-ray discs, so that's what they will produce. They'll be wanting to get their new releases out in glorious 1080p ASAP to catch the Christmas sales, they're not going to be waiting to see what happens to player sales in December.
What are the sales figures for US of A, do they show the same trend or are they the reverse. We could end up with a Blu-Ray Europe and an HD America.
Anyway as I have said before I won't by either until cheap Recorders are avilible. Having spent a bag of money on cd-rom then CD-writers and CD-Rewriters and then the same with DVD-rom and DVD-rewriters, I ain't shelling out anymore until the format war is over and they sell rewriters for £100 or much less.
@Anon_Cow and @Phillip C
I agree that it's early days, but history does repeat itself, time and again. As in Beta Max v VHS: great marketing always beats great product.
Blu-Ray sounds sexy, HD-DVD does not.
Blu-Ray has struck a major PR victory, HD-DVD has not.
I'm with anon_cow on this one.
Look out for pump and dumps spams, and pass them on.
Microsoft will pay you $1 for every one you forward.
I'm on a roll:
Subject will be
Old data now, perhaps, but...
I agree Philip Cheeseman. The PS3 clouds the statistics. I think when it comes to joe public they will go for HD DVD. Why? The argument would go. "Ive got a HD TV so I must get a HD DVD player"
For what its worth the non techi people ive spoken to seem to be buying HD TVs under the mistaken idea that they will show all pictures in HD! In fact I was in Currys a few weeks ago and the sales woman was telling a prospective punter that his regular DVD player would show HD pictures on the screen of the HD Ready TV he was going to buy!!! I was going to intervene but managed to bite my tongue.
TV might clinch it
it is true that only a small portion of present DVD releases need more than the 30 GB that fits on what a dual-layered single-sided HD DVD allows. The titles that currently gets an additional DVD for "extras" spiring to mind here.
More decisive are TV-shows on DVD, which have proven a popular product. 30GB is not enough for a season of 20+ 1-hour (well, 41 minutes anyway ) episodes in 1080P, with a few extras. 50GB is.
A disk-producer/distributor would certainly prefer a product that fits on a single side of a single disk. I dare say the consumer would too.
It is fair to say that high-density DVDs area stop-gap technology, but what isn't?
At some point you have to make a desicion to accept what is on offer as being satifactory for current requirements. A fair few people will probably decide that 50GB is a little more satisfactory than 30GB.
HD-DVD v's Blu-Ray
I am a UK consumer but I buy all my HD-DVD's from the USA. This is because they are cheaper and are released earlier. The fact that HD-DVD's have no region code helps too.
If all Euro consumers buy their disks from overseas would this not skew the results. I think a global comparison is the only fair way to judge.
does this mean...
all of the UK tax records could be leaked on 1 disk, thus saving the tax payer the cost of the extra disk?
Given that HD DVD is only just now taking off in Europe...
... the sales figures for what is mostly the early part of 2007 are largely irrelevant as it's past history as a result of the PS3s sales from early 2007. No one after all bets on the stock market based purely on past history. They go on current trends and future predictions.
More so when they represent something like 1% of sales if you include DVD.
2007 figures are not the ones to go on. 2008 are. This is where the impact of the cheap HD DVD players comes in and the public starts to get their head round the formats, realising that when both formats are technically for all intents and purposes identical really the only thing that matters is price and convenience.
HD DVD is cheaper, not region coded, has less DRM restrictions, and the spec is finalised. Want in-vision extras and web enabled content? Sure, HD DVD all the way, else keep on upgrading those Blu-Ray players and pray for Profile 2.0 (though to be fair the PS3 really is the only BR player that counts and Joe Public is really not going to buy a games console to play movies no matter how many people say it's great. It's not called a 'Play'station for nothing).
At present, all Sony spin about 3:1, 2:1, etc, doesn't mean a thing when it comes to winners when the market is tiny.
And besides, Sony execs wouldn't be admitting stalemate as they have if it really was as they are spinning here.
HD DVD players are selling this xmas, along with Wii's. Who's buying PS3s? I just see them collecting dust on the shelves.
PS3 is the deciding factor? Pish Posh.
All this speculation and premature celebration will amount to nowt.
The answer to one simple question will settle the format war debate for good and all:
>> Where is the porn?
The people need, nay, deserve to know!
Over in the US, the year-so-far stats have been pretty steady at 66:34, give or take a couple of percent as big releases for either format come out, all year. BluRay is winning, but to listen to the fanboys (and indeed studio heads) at the beginning of the year they were expecting a lead more like that 17:1 el Reg reckon exists for European hardware.
It's a somewhat arbitrary figure, anyway - the two formats are still early-adopter-only, and every single person I know with HD-DVD gets a fair proportion of their discs from the US. I'm running about 50:50 myself, as sometimes (Serenity and Planet Earth, for example) it's worth paying the UK price premium for the local disc, and sometimes (Potter, notably) the UK one came out first.
Right now, I'm expecting the stalemate to last well into next year, unless those Alba players are sub-£150 or something insane. Either way, by the time I run out of films I like on HD-DVD a BluRay (or even dual-format) player will be more affordable, so I'm not too worried about it all.
NTSC vs PAL
Interesting point there Joe! Could well become a NTSC vs PAL format for different sides of the Atlantic. Would sort out the cross border shipping from the US to Europe that used to concern the censorshipers (**Petooie!!**)
The European Attach Rate doesn't take into account the fact that most HD-DVD player owners buy their discs from the States where even with import duties and tarrifs they're half the price and region free. Blu-Ray on the other hand is often region-locked meaning you have to buy domestically.
If I look at my own collection the figures for Europe would show HD-DVD purchased: 2, Blu-Ray purchased: 40
So what's my "preferred" format? I have over 200 HD-DVDs purchased from the States. 'Nuff said!
Depsite the obvious attraction of the name BLU-ray, more porn is available on HD DVD. After all, it is cheaper to produce the disks, and they are all region free, which would appeal to the porn studios.
As for those calling the format war won, get a grip. HD DVD and Blu-Ray are both losing badly to ordinairy DVD. We will only be able to call a winner (if ever) when one of them overhauls DVD. This is a typical tactic of the blu-ray trolls to call victory at every opportunity. I'm certain that on some forums right now, there will be links to this story and calls for people to get over here and 'show those HD DUD morons who is boss'.
I'd love to see El Reg do a feature on fanboyism. It is a pretty strange cultural phenomenom that has moved on from silly school boy arguments to ridiculous lengths. I've seen posts from people on some forums saying they hang round in electronics shops purely to try and convince people to buy their format of choice.
"Porn ?" People stream it from internet now. It's not "THE factor" in the old days.
PS3 helps, helps a lot. If you have one at home, it sometimes will change your decision buying regular DVD - $5 to $10 more for a better looking movie, why not (sometimes anyway)?
this is a battle Sony will lose
And Sony will lose not because HD-DVD will win but because neither format has a hope in hell of "winning". No optical medium will replace DVD, flash & physical storage will continue to fall in price and, along with fatter pipes, will make both optical HD formats ultimately pointless. Bluray will probably sell more but it will never become ubiquitous nor deliver Sony it's long held dream of owning a proprietary media format.
Surely the fact that BR is region locked meaning all UK owners buy UK discs but HD-DVD isn't and therefore most buyers buy from companies who import them or buy from abroad completely skews the figures.
The big question will be when PS3 becomes a shelved product and starts gathering dust will those same people go out and buy a BR player if they haven't bought any films? (as most clearly haven't)
People buying HD-DVD players are buying them to watch films (that includes 360 owners as they need to buy it seperately), PS3 buyers are in the large buying it play games.
If the film companies get themselves sorted out and allow HD download of films then we wouldn't need either but since it'll probably take them a decade to allow that to happen we'll be stuck with picking one or the other.
I've an HD-DVD for my 360 but fully intend to buy a dual format player when they come down in a price a bit, then its win-win!!
When it comes down to it, more people will buy the format that has the most titles. At the moment, every shop I look into has a larger selection of Blu-Ray discs than HDDVD's, even though Toshiba have paid off a couple of production companies not to make Blu-Ray's (which I am surprised has not yet been brought to court under "unfair competition" laws). Whether this is indicative of the market in general I do not know, but I know a whole handful of people who buy Blu-Ray's and no-one who buys HDDVD's.
People had better hope that Toshiba can keep throwing money at HD-DVD's until the cheap players come out. Simple fact is that people buy a PS3 for gaming, and have a ready-made Blu-ray player there, so some people buy the discs. At the moment, the players are too expensive for most people to buy JUST as a player. Until that balance shifts (with cheaper players) Toshiba need to keep feeding money into HDDVD, otherwise it'll lose.
It reminds me of the great VHS vs Betamax wars of the eighties.
And to those who say HD-DVD is a better format, not really. From a publishers perspective, region coding and DRM are desirable things, and they have a greater capacity than HDDVD.
At the end of the day, if HDDVD wins, I'll buy a player, but for now I'll stick with my Blu-Ray's as it looks like the pendulum is swinging that way.
Re. HD DVD region-free myth
Region Coding is an established part of the HD DVD specification and has been for some time, so this is likely to become just as much a problem for HD DVD owners as Blu-ray Disc buffs.
Right now, it's unclear whether discs are being stamped as region free or the drives are simply accepting discs from any region - ie. they're not enforcing what's on the disc. If the latter, HD DVD early adopters are potentially going to run into trouble when they upgrade their hardware.
Given this current region freedom could prove a sales advantage over BD, HD DVD backers might choose to maintain this situation, but it's always been the goal of the DVD Forum to enforce HD DVD region coding as soon as possible once HD DVD moves out of the early adopter phase and goes mainstream.
Unless HD DVD is a complete flop, region coding will be imposed on the format, just as it was with DVD and just as it has been with Blu-ray.
Blu-ray is pretty much region free
As Im sure many UK BD owners know, most 'region locked' US BD discs work in the UK. I import several US BD films every month and they all work fine on my PS3. You can find out which ones here :
Also Several people on here are saying that they buy HD DVD discs in the US, so it brings the figures down here, but obviously it would also put the figures up in the US where HD-DVD is currently ( and always has been ) getting totally whipped.
I think its pretty obvious now that BD will win, and HD-DVD will slowly fade away. It will be fun though, watching the HD-DVD fanboys thinking up ever more illogical arguments about how the HD-DVD sales will suddenly explode next week / month / year.
Would be nice
to see Sony win this one. I am still a bit miffed that the SUPERIOR videotape format (betamax) lost to that POS format dubbed VHS. All because of a little licensing issue (like Sony told everyone to sod off). Maybe Sony learned a little from that. Ever try to find a belt kit for a 20 year old betamax player. I still have a box full of tapes and the last time I checked they still played (after 10 years in a box).
So, if you are wondering what to do with all those old betamax tapes and equipment, just send them to the reg. and I am sure they will forward them all to me, gratis. ;)
My regular old DVD player works just fine so I won't be upgrading until there is a compelling reason (like I can't buy DVD's anymore).
Why care? There's VERY little content of any value in HD as, until very recently, most material is produced in non-HD.
Instead we're lumbered with either shoddy re-masterings of older material with utterly pointless "features" (the content will usually have the same level of detail as the non-HD DVDs) or new films, most of which are at the standard level of Hollywood dross so why bother buying them anyway, especially at the surcharge that HD comes with?
If you buy a PS3 you get a BluRay player built in, you're unlikely to also buy a HD DVD player. If you planned on buying a PS3 when they were announced, you'd have bought a BluRay player rather than a HD DVD player.
The PS3 element does skew the format but as has already been said, more people are buying neither and no amount of figures would persuade me to buy into either technology.
RE:HD-DVD region free myth - Tony Smith
I have to say I'm a little disapointed in that response from a member of The Register's staff, as it is blatantly not true.
The DVD Forum's (who control all things DVD/HD-DVD) only move towards region coding on HD-DVD was proposing the set-up of an Ad-Hoc group to work with various working groups to develop a specification and enforcement plan, at their steering group meeting of 24th May, 2006 (meeting minutes available from http://www.dvdforum.org/images/34th_Confirmed_Minutes_of_SC_meeting_on_May_24_2006.pdf ) This proposal was approved and the group was set-up.
This group has not reported any results/findings/recommendations as yet, and until they do no decision with regards to region coding HD-DVD's will have been made. If you want factual information about HD-DVD, its capabilites and development I suggest you goto www.dvdforum.org rather than rely on all the hearsay/fanboy bullshit doing the rounds.
By the way just before the replies start, I own both formats and frankly don't give a crap which one wins, it just annoys me when people are being mislead because of certain groups rabid desire to see one format win/lose.
How is this news?
How is it news, when they've been cooking the figures all along? What did you expect the backers to suggest, they were losing ground if not already behind?
The truth is simple, only gaming boxes gave blu-ray backers any illusion of competition, consumers have already chosen HD-DVD as the higher volume seller for the core video playback purpose. We knew this would happen all along because blu-ray drives cost too damn much for the masses to adopt.
HD-DVD ain't free, dudes!
Ah, the Reg Hacks beat me to the point. Which is: HD-DVD buyers that buy HDDVD solely because they're region free are being suckered in. When in a product war, there will always be stuff that will try to sway the sheep into their way: be it lower rates, insane plans, oversold bandwidth, premium channels for free, etc. This is how Sky crushed DirectTV in Mexico, and how many cable co's drove out the competition's ISPs.
In the end, when they win, they'll nerf most of the "extras" and guess what ... they will do it because they *can*, and there's nobody left to run to. If studios were really keen on region-liberating everything, we'd have region-less BD's out there already. I doubt it.
Here in Mexico, back in the pre-regionless DVD era, we were nerfed by being saddled "region 4", while the US is "region 1". So what did we do? Easy: Buy your DVD-player in the US too. By the time the PS2 came out, I remember vividly that even stores sold the region 1 PS2's.
I bought a console, I got a decent BluRay player for "free".
Personally I don't give a rat's arse if either format fails.
I bought a first-generation 60GB PS3 as a HD games console to play PS3 games (I also own an XBox 360, Wii, plus a fair number of the old obselete consoles).
The fact it can:
- Play/upscale DVD's
- Play Blu-Ray movies
- Play PS2/PS1/PSP games
- Play MP3/WMA/WAV/MPEG-4,DIVX, plus various other media formats
- Display photos and pictures
- Read media streams remotely
- Act as a DVR
- Be installed with Linux
- Be hooked to just about every device in my home
~~ plus all the other stuff it does ~~
... actually.. doesn't really matter to me very much.
Sure I bought a few Blu-Ray movies. Why not, since I have the player available and I wanted to test out my fancy new 1080P HD LCD TV. They are very nice, its a definate improvement over standard DVD *shrugs*
But, if the format wins or loses doesn't matter to me at all. I'll still have the player, i'll still have the discs and I'll still be using the console for its purchased purpose -- to play PS3 games on.
I think most consumers on either "side" simply don't care about this "war". A lot of the HD-DVD guys just bought their player cuz it was wicked cheap at Wal-Mart or they forked over $200 for the add-on XBox 360 player. A lot of the Blu-Ray guys are like me, they got it bundled with their game console or it came with their latest PC (I got one bundled in a Laptop I bought for a friend recently)
What to buy?
Answer: I got a PS3 for my Bday and getting a HD-DVD player for Xmas
Do i care who wins? No, as long as its not Sony :P
Truth be told the deciding factor is the largest retailer in the world.
Yes Walmart. If the rumors about a cheap HD-DVD player made for them are true than Sony and fanboys are in deep trouble. What Walmart wants Walmart gets.
As for quality of the content HD/BL are good only for current releases. Most of the older titles blow goats. Case and point: Watch the 5th Element! Crappy is Crappy just HD/BL or in this case for this title BL makes the crap crystal clear.......
So what happens when we see the inevitable dual-format players? Personally I think Joe Public is far too shrewd (god did I just say that?) to take a gamble on either format right now, and will be waiting for a machine that takes the risk away and plays both.
Then the real war will begin, and will be won by the format with the best content and best distribution. When the likes of Tesco start flogging them it will be a major factor in influencing take-up. I don't follow the line that it will be the cheapest format that wins - not unless it has decent titles. Cheap discs full of b-list movies aren't going to sell. In this respect you have to fancy Blu-Ray and it's greater studio support.
I also don't believe the PS3 causes 'unrepresentative' figures - the fact is they are Blu-Ray players and they are in homes. You can't ignore the fact that some people have bought them purely because they are (were?)cheap BD players.
RE: Porn - people actually buy porn? Wow.
@Michael Compton - Hold the phone...
First you said:
"HD DVD would have been a better stop gap solution until one of the more advanced storage formats...."
Then you said:
"Blu Ray offers not much more than HD DVD..."
So Blu-Ray does offer more then? Increased capacity, etc? And there's more BD movies and players out there? Then how would HD-DVD be a better stop gap?
You confuse me, sir.
Pssst... here's a secret:
... Blu-ray has already won the battle, HD DVD just doesn't know it yet.
And here's another:
Downloads has already won the war, Blu-ray just doesn't know it yet.
Shame - Blu-ray is awesome (and anybody who says those extra 20Gb doesn't make a difference hasn't seen Pirates 2 at 1080p).
@ Scott Butterworth
I'm with you on this one. The PS3 is a nice bit of kit.
Personally, i rent my BD discs, but to be honest, i aint forking out £££££'s for the same film collection AGAIN (VHS - DVD) for either HD or BD.
I'll start buying HD or BD discs when you can get 3 for a tenner.
For the forseeable future, i'll enjoy the nice upscaling feature of the PS3 and my hired BD films, and the cracking games and the........
US$1 DVD disks are at Wal-Mart now
How many idiots are going to pay US$20 or more to get the *same* content on Blue-Ray or HD DVD?
Come on, people are stupid on the whole - but not THAT Stupid!
The Power of Disney
Disney is only avialible on Blu-Ray. For people with kids the decision is all ready made.
Check & mate.
Also doesn't it bother you that Toshiba is the only Tier 1 Manufacturer making HD-DVD players?
(LG makes a hybrid but that negates itself)
Something odd about those figures.
Only 0.6 film discs per player, with 12 games per player? What are all these wonderful games the PS3 players are playing? My friend who has one has a lot more films than games since PS3 has such a dearth of good games. I know good games have started to be released, but still, it sounds very unlikely...
Why oh, why, HD-DVD, do you suddenly gain region encoding?!? You had a clear chance of winning by staying region-free.
Here's hoping that some Chinese companies will come up with cheap region-free Blu-Ray players.
Big retailers matter
What matter is not if a format is better or worse, but if you can buy the discs. It looks like BD is doing a better job of getting their discs on shelves.
Based on this BD will be the preferred format going forward.
Retraction needed from Tony Smith
Tony Smith, your misinformation on HD-DVD Region Coding is going to be used by the usual Blu Ray Trolls, including the anonymous coward whose post has preceded mine.
As your facts are plain wrong, I believe you should be retracting your comment.
@ El Editor
Tony, i too am a little disappointed regarding comments about region coding on HD when it blatantly isn't the case.
The rumours are rife regarding this as alledgedly Disney and Fox are refusing to back HD DVD until it has region coding.... and then on the other hand Disney cast their first vote in the HD DVD forum recently!!
As for the number of discs vs units sold... the main reason the ratio is so skewed is the number of people who've bought a PS3, which whilst a Blu Ray player, most folks buy it as a games console (not sure why mind...) whereas anyone buying a HD DVD player (the Xbox add on specifically as an example here) is doing so to watch films on it and nothing more.
Given the relatively low cost, i may buy a BR player too now, but so far i've been a HD DVD fan... the fact i can now replace my current DVD player entirely also as Toshiba has leaked a multi region SD DVD upgrade on to the web so i can upscale all my existing R1 DVD's without need for a separate player!
I think eventually BR will go the way of the other Sony exclusives.... mainly because it's very expensive by comparison to manufacture the discs, standards are only just becoming so and a raft of other reasons!
They have.. they're called Alba...
But it begs to be asked: Why buy a cheap player to play HD movies...? Surely top components will give a better signal from the disc?
Has to be said - Both BR and HD-DVD arguments are ALL from FANBOYS.. One calling the other is a bit hypocritical (me included, but I do it from both sides... ahem - er, can i re-phrase that?)
(As footballers say) "At the end of the day.." both formats are extremely good formats. Please, though, for the love of films - DO NOT buy a cheap player(!) Wait until you've saved your pennies/cents/whatever for a decent one. Just buying one is nailing a coffin shut somewhere.. be reaslistic. A $400/£200 HD player is going to be the very LEAST you need to spend currently. When the prices of these things start to fall, then you can get your cheap player - not these so-called 'early-adopters' models that will just be some mutt-of-a-box..
missing the point
to be perfectly honest the fact that I can watch a movie in 1080p *whatever* the format/source, is completely superceded by the fact that they don't release enough good movies to watch in the first place.