back to article US HD DVD player sales pass 750,000

Three-quarters of a million Americans now own a dedicated HD DVD player or Xbox 360 add-on drive, the HD DVD Promotional Group said today. To date, 750,000 HD DVD devices have been sold in North America, the organisation said, citing "retailer reports and other point of sale data". It pointed to busy post-Thanksgiving purchasing …

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Reasonable point

It's a good point that HDDVD players are bought specifically for watching films whereas most Blu-ray players (with PS3's) are bought by gamers. It'll be interesting to see where actual movie sales (rather than the number of players on the market) go AFTER the christmas period as I think that'll in fact be a better indication of what people are buying.

Christmas will skew the figures but early 2008 I think the figures for actual numbers of movie discs being sold will be a more true indication.

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You could see this coming....

Walk into a Costco or a Circuit City or somewhere and see a (large) stack of BluRay players priced at $450 next to a (small) stack of HD-DVD players priced at $150 (and up, it depends on the store, but top price is $200ish). There's a price point around $150 where people will buy the unit because at that price if the unit did become obsolete it would be no great loss.

Also, a disc player's a disc player. The technology may be new(ish) but you can get a pretty decent standard DVD player for $30 so what's so fantastic about HD that you've got to pay 10 or 20 times more? The whole point of HD is to get those HDMI (or, more correctly, HDCP) interfaces into general use, its an interface that's clunky, technically unsophisticated and so on but finally gives the content provider control over the interfaces. So in reality, we should be getting our HD players free.........like printers, they'll give the unit away because the money's in the consumables!

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Avid PS3 fan

I'm firmly in the blu-ray camp, but didn't seurveys show the huge majority were not even aware the PS3 could play blu-ray films, same as Xbox users.

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Paris Hilton

and... (forgot something)

what will happen when all these gamers ask mom and dad for a blu-ray movie to play on their ps-3 for christmas???

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Alien

It's now about movie sales

Could be that demand for HD-DVD is accelerating or it could be that selling off the old model at $98 meant a lot of people bought it as a great, cheap upscaling DVD player with HDMI out.

I bought a PS3 as a blu-ray player AND as a games machine. Currently the score for me is 15 blu-ray movies and 3 games.

We could sit and argue all day about PS3 vs standalone blu-ray players vs HD-DVD players. We could argue about stupid Toshiba vs Sony battles (Actually Toshiba+Microsoft vs almost every other CE vendor)...

But as Andy says above, watch what happens with actual movie disc sales. After all, if the content industry decides blu-ray is where the action is, and stops producing HD-DVD content, it's over.

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Paris Hilton

and...

what will happen when all these gamers ask mom and dad for a blu-ray movie to play on their ps-3???

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Stop

Er...

"have been bought by movie buffs"

I thought you said the figures included add-on drives for X-boxes. Or are they so rubbish at games that they are only useful for watching films..?

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Still has a mountain to climb

All i know is that, having a PS3, there is no way in hell i'd buy ANOTHER hi-def player, no matter what exclusives it has (curse you Universal for putting Transformers on HDDVD only).

At least until they become cheap as regular DVD players got.

Those sold already are mostly to people who have no interest in gaming and are movie buffs well off enough to have all the kit required and willing to refresh their movie collection on a new format.

Thats a pretty limited market.

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Dead Vulture

To be honest

I'm more interested in seeing how long it takes before the entire title of an article is acronyms, not just the first three "words".

As for the formats, I'm in no hurry. I'll let them slug it out and just accept whoever is the winner. No big issue for me; I don't even have a flatscreen telly (although I do have two or three LCD monitors).

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@James

The difference is, the add on drives for the xbox are an ADD ON, so the only people who have them are the ones interested in playing HD DVDs, conversely most people with a PS3, don't even know they have blu ray functionality. And you have to top that off, with most people who have a ps3 not having an HD-TV to go with it.

That said, PS3s may give Blu-Ray a major dge down the road, as people who decide they want to start watching HD movies realize that they already have a Blu-Ray player. (Maybe, my experience with movies on PS2s is that the controls suck badly, and it's very buggy).

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Silver badge

Do we really have to choose only one?

Given that even a small collection of movies in either format will swamp out the price of the players, why not just buy one of each?

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Go

Frugality will win the day

Most of the people I know have a regular DVD player attached to every TV in their house as well as having DVD players on their computers. The rapidly decreasing cost of HD DVD players can only help their adoption. At < $100/unit it's feasible for HD DVD players to displace regular DVD players in people's homes. The decision to purchase a PS3 for the included Blu Ray drive with the added benefit of it being a gaming console only really works well for the first PS3 at $400 for most people with limited budgets.

From what I've read, HD DVD disks are less expensive to produce. That is a powerful incentive for the movie studios, given that Blu Ray and HD DVD disks sell for the same amount at retail. A small savings per disk adds up to potential millions in the studios' pockets.

Like VHS and Betamax, the winner likely will not be decided on technical merit.

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Happy

The Bright Side

When everbody starts buying HD or BR will the shops cut the price of DVDs to off-load them? I still won't buy HD or BR unless the thing records.

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@ Corrine

"The difference is, the add on drives for the xbox are an ADD ON, so the only people who have them are the ones interested in playing HD DVDs, conversely most people with a PS3, don't even know they have blu ray functionality. And you have to top that off, with most people who have a ps3 not having an HD-TV to go with it."

I don't see it myself. Blu-Ray is one of the main features of the PS3, are you honestly trying to tell me that "most" people who own a PS3 don't know that it plays Blu-Ray?? How do you know this? People who are prepared to blow £400 on a console generally know what it can do. (Hell, it's even been on BBC news, even my 60 year old parents have heard of it.) They also realise that having a next gen console means HD picture and requires a HD telly. Why else would anyone buy a PS3? If you take away the BD and HD aspect it's really just a bigger PS2 with nicer GFX and a hard drive.

I think the war will be won and lost in the supermarkets - once one format boots the other off Tesco's shelves (as will inevitably happen at some point), it's game over. The number of players is incidental to the number of discs they can play - no decent movies means all these cheap Toshiba players will gather dust. Although I accept that more players means more incentives to produce them, I think BR has the upper hand when it comes to content.

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Counterpoint

750,000 players eh? And how many of those are the firesale Toshiba variety? This 'debate' between Toshiba and HD-DVD on the one hand and Sony and BluRay on the other is ridiculous.

Toshiba contends that you shouldn't include PS3s in BluRay numbers because they don't think many PS3 owners know it can play movies. Um, hello you morons, PS3s are sold with a bundled movie. The vast majority of PS3 owners are aware it can play BluRay, Probably a good idea to include a decent fraction of PS3s at least, don't ya think? In which case BluRay is spanking HD-DVD silly.

If you look at disc sales, actual movies sold, not game discs, and I believe this doesn't include movies bundled inside the box either since they are not sold by the retailer. BluRay is giving HD-DVD a good old thumping in each of the three major markets. This is despite the $150million bribe to keep Paramount from releasing anything on BluRay for a year or two.

Analyzing sales numbers from the Thanksgiving period in the US is fraught with problems any way you look at it. But compounding this with Toshiba dumping goodness knows how many 10s of thousands of HD-DVD players into the market, and selling them at 20-25% of their original MSRP? Talk about a skewed month.

This isn't to say Sony is any better, they have shown their own ability to play with numbers on many occasions.

If you concentrate on the actual sales of movies, not games, and not bundled movies that come in the box. In other words only count movies that are stocked on the shelf and sold individually then HD-DVD is clearly and undeniably in trouble. For the entire period of the last 12 months BluRay has sold more movies than HD-DVD but a ratio of 2:1 in the US, and according to the most recent European figures 3:1 there. I can't remember the specific figures from Japan, but the ratio there is I believe even higher.

Both the BluRay and HD-DVD camps try to inflate the numbers and calculate supposed "attach rates" that are beneficial to themselves. But the simple bald sales numbers tell the story quite nicely. BluRay movies outsell HD-DVD by a minimum ratio of 2:1.

We could quote number of players, numbers of 360 HD-DVD add ons and numbers of PS3s, we could argue what percentage of PS3 owners use the thing to play movies. We could start coming up with all sorts of rationalizations and pull more numbers out of our a$$, but in the end the numbers that matter are the movies sold. And right now, as they have since BD launched, BD movies are selling better by at least 2:1.

If you want to start counting players, then PS3 obliterates HD-DVD without any argument possible. Sony stated sales at 5.6 million worldwide at the beginning of November and their sales have increased tremendously with the new 40GB model, better prices and games. So it's reasonable to conclude that they have probably sold at least 6 million by now, perhaps more. Not including stand alone BD players, PS3 has put 5-6 times as many BluRay players in homes than there are HD-DVD players of any kind. I don't care how hard Toshiba argues their point that few PS3s are used for movies. No one buying a $400+ pieces of home entertainment equipment is truly incapable of understanding that it can play movies. The inclusion of a BD movie with most every PS3 sold is something of a dead give away(pun not intended) on that front. So I think Toshiba probably needs to shut up about it.

Frankly, I don't care, if BD wins, great I can get a BD player. If HD-DVD wins I can go buy a cheap HD-DVD player. My inner geek on the other hand tells me the BD has better technical specs, it's discs are hard coated making them more resistant to scratches, and despite the constant bleating of people from either side there is not much to chose between them on features. It's possible that a 50GB BD could include a higher quality picture and sound track because there is more space and BD supports a higher bit rate, but no one is using it yet. That said, HD-DVD can't really compete on that score.

I just wish the whole thing would hurry up and be over so we can start buying movies. Toshiba, Microsoft and Paramount should all be ashamed of themselves for prolonging this with their johnny come lately exclusive to HD-DVD deal. Thanks guys, we really needed another year of expensive players, expensive media and format flame wars throughout the Web.

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Boffin

Why Blu over HDD?

I enjoy FULL HD 1080p and Dolby Digital surround sound when watching a film or playing a video game. After researching all of my available options I've decided to go Blu-ray. The reasons that I chose BD are 1.BD 100GB capacity BD-R & BD-RW will be available to consumers in Q2 2008 with 200GB BD to follow. This is important to me for future computer PC/Laptop purchases. 2.Movie Studios prefer BD's copy protect security. 3.PS3 4.HD-DVD is limited to 51GB per Tri-layer disc which is not able to be played in ANY current consumer models because the disc is incompatable with the optical lens. 5.The HD-DVD 51GB disc can not be made to have HD-DVD-R or HD-DVD-RW capabilities. Again, this is important to me for future computer PC/Laptop purchases.

If I wanted to save $200, I would have purchased the $99 HD-DVD player (Toshiba HD-A3). What the HD-DVD propaganda machine doesn't openly advertise is the fact that the cheapest HD-DVD player the produces a FULL HD 1080p video output signal, currently in production is $399 at BestBuy (Toshiba HD-A30). The Toshiba HD-A20 was 1080p capable for $499 but has since been discontinued.

Anyone who argues on the side of HD-DVD either doesn't know the true facts of both formats or is being paid by Microsoft or Toshiba. It absolutely make no sense to buy HD-DVD. It is a complete waste of Money.

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Alan

Good to see the evangelicals (especially the Blu-Ray army) out in force spouting the same old tired arguments. Please go back to your forums and leave this place alone.

Superdynamite, I see you have memorized the talking points playbook perfectly. One bit of advice on the 1080p/i thing, If you can actually see a difference between the progressive and interlaced signal on your shiny new 1080p capable display, then I am truly sorry that you spent all that money on a television that has lousy deinterlacing capabilities, as that is the only time there will be a visible difference.

Now as to the point of the article hopefully this is a sign that HD is actually getting to the point that it may get enough traction to go mainstream (I include both Blu-Ray and HD DVD in this category) and get enough attention that the studios will actally take it seriously and get some serious content out there.

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Boffin

Statistical significance

Can anyone tell me the number of normal DVDs sold last month?

If BD sold 20, HDDVD 10 but normal DVDs sold 10000 then the 2:1 ratio doesn't matter.

I find the BD in a PS3 thing a very cynical ploy. That would be enough to put me off - and while most gamers know it plays movies I hope they realize what they have bought into...

I don't like the idea of locking myself into Sony - how likely are they to lower the disc prices? They are giving away ps3s at a huge loss - basically gambling the entire company. They have to claw all that back and then make a profit first.

They are struggling to compete with 'older' consoles on games. Compare the number of PS3s to Wiis and X-boxes and the numbers don't look so good. If Wii brought out an HDDVD add-on drive...

I don't see how BD can become the new DVD drive for PCs. The battle has only really started - maybe BD will become the apple of Hi def?

nah.

But I would like to see the HD vs normal DVD sales numbers for context - someone please?

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Alert

$99 HD DVD Walmart player is the death of HD DVD

I think that $99 will be the death of HD DVD. It's like the gherkin people who found they couldn't sell a $2 small bottle after their $5, 3kg gherkin Walmart keg.

Each one of those customers buying a $99 player is a customer not buying a $299 player. So that kills the high end market, it kills the manufacturers profit incentive, so I don't expect many makers to want to make HD DVD players now. It kills the retail margin, so the electronics stores won't want to push it.

Once Walmart up the price again, would you pay $299 for a player with a $99 value?

Walmart is where large corporations go to die and to do a price dump so early in a products life cycle is a death spiral. If they're only sold 750k including the XBOx360, despite heavy discounting, and Bluray is at 3.2 million WITHOUT heavy discounting, then it hasn't worked.

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Sony old style

I think whatever the outcome is Blue-Ray will still be major stream in Japan, not sure about worldwide.

Time will tell whether this has the fate as their Mini-Disc and UMD technologies.

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Go

Formats

I'm on Amazon now and Toshiba HD-DVD players are going for £200, and Heroes is out on 10th Dec on HD-DVD only. So three guesses which format I'll be buying for Xmas :)

I need a new DVD player anyway so the HD part is discounted to about £150 in practice. That makes it worth a punt in my view, whether HD-DVD dies next year or not.

And next year, BD players will be cheaper. I'll be able to buy an HD-DVD player today and a BD player tomorrow for the price of a BD player today. So once something absolutely compelling comes out (it's not like I have acres of free time) I'll look at BD again.

The fact that BD has a historical 2:1 sales advantage doesn't affect my decision at all. With BD players at £400 and HD-DVD at £200 I would imagine most people would go for HD-DVD at the current time. Especially Heroes fans! (I've had the opportunity to see any given movie in "HD" at the cinema, but the chance to watch Heroes in HD has never yet occurred.)

So let's see what HD-DVD sales are looking like in 1Q08.

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@AC

"Bluray is at 3.2 million WITHOUT heavy discounting" - sorry, how much profit do you think Sony makes on PS3 sales, exactly?

Highlander - if PS3 owners are so aware that their machines are BluRay players, why is the movie attach rate 0.6? That's an awful lot of owners that haven't even bought one film.

The whole thing is completely up in the air. Lets see what the early '08 figures say. Sure a lot of players on both formats have been sold, but those formats have also been giving away stacks of free films with the players. So plenty won't feel the need to buy any more just yet.

Personally, I'm predicting that both formats will continue to bounce along with their sales levels, neither pulling enough of a lead to kill off the other. It's still largely selling to people who like films enough to end up dual-format - the 2:1 ratio has been fixed like that all year, despite concerted efforts from both sides and the odd bit of moving with big titles.

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Boffin

Wake me up mid-2008

BD or HD DVD there's another 6 months in it, so I'm holding off until mid-2008.

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@superdynamite

Clearly you don't know the facts, which always makes these articles fun.

200Gb BR discs are complete speculation, as it stands there is talk of a 100Gb disc, but it doesn't exist anywhere yet... neither for that matter does HD51.

As far as films are concerned the size of the disc is not the physical limitation as a full movie is around 11Gb.

Studios may well prefer region coding and hence Blu Ray, but copy protection both has already been cracked, the Blu Ray far more easily than HD in case you're interested... Fox and Disney have both stated they prefer Blu Ray because of the region coding, however neither of them is dumb enough to spite themselves, if HD is selling more than BR they will start to produce it otherwise they're losing the most important thing to them, sales....

I've said many times before the costs of producing BR make it somewhat prohibitive, a separate press to HD - that works in the same one as normal DVD, physical costs are higher (Sony stopped subsidies recently)

As for your comment on HD51 being incompatible with current players, it is compatible with the current generation of players, the Ep30, EP35 et al whereas BR 2.0 (due out at some point next year, though given the delays on v1.1 lets not hold our breath) is categorically not compatible, hence the lack of presence of the really big guns in the industry, namely Denon etc so you buy a BR 2.0 disc and you can't play it on your existing player, that'll be irritating - in this instance the PS3 is the best player you can buy as it's the most up to date and i dare say it's Sony's baby it will be compatible somehow.

I for one don't really care which wins, so long as there is only one at the end as i'm sick of the one upsmanship going on. The video and audio quality is identical, i just one the one box though.... i have a feeling HD DVD will emerge as the front runner, but we'll see.

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Another point of view

I think people who bought PS3 roughly fall in few categories

1) Hard core gamers who value visual effects more than the price.

2) Hard core gamers who will own any game console

3) Gamers who can't get hold of Wii for coming Xmas

However, I certainly don't see non gamers or less serious gamers will buy a PS3 for the sake of blue-ray.

Personally, I think Sony placed a gamble when they released PS3 and they got it wrong and unfortunately, this one has a big price to pay.

1) Most of the gamers will buy PS3 because it is a successor of PS2 even though price mark is higher.

2) Based on 1), If we (Sony) bundle PS3 with Blue-ray, PS3 owners will be converted too.

Secondly, worst thing that happened to PS3, it is the introduction of the revolutionary Wii. It is cheaper and much more fun to play. The worst of the worst new is Wii outsold PS3 everywhere which casts a general perception to consumers (even the ones don't own a Wii).

1) You can have so much more fun with price of Wii. This de-values PS3 as a mark up price PS3 console even though it actually worths of what it got.

2) Parents are more encouraged to buy Wii than PS3 because they envisage family fun with their kids than imagining their kids locked in their rooms playing FPS games.

3) It has been outsold everywhere, it must be worth it.

4) People want to show off they got a Wii because it is hard to get.

If the above perceptions are in general consumers' mind, then it is pretty lethal to Sony. Remember the famous quote: "Nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd".

There have been more negative feedbacks on PS3 than Wii. The only major disappointing news on Wii is the constant lack of supply which again turns to positive branding to Nintendo. Remember, Nintendo is ultra smart playing the supplier game - see the book "Co-opetition".

One of the side effect of negative feedbacks on PS3 is that consumers may have unconsciously cast negative perception on Blue-ray. Even though PS3 is nothing to do with Blue-ray technology because Sony forces PS3 with BD. Some consumers may surprisingly just systematically link PS3 = Blue ray. The crucial question is that how many of these thinkers in the market during the HD vs BD war.

1) Perception is reality

2) Selective perception (see Edward de Bono)

These consumers may not necessary have logical thoughts and 'We', the consumers, always think our decision is right. Not many companies can climb to the prestigious wall, like Apple, who can mentor consumers mind wanted to be the 'Apple crowd'.

Again another illogical assumption on why consumers may choose HD than BD, wherever you buy a LCD television, you always see the 'HD-Ready' logo but you don't see the 'Blue-Ray Ready'. If you always see 'HD' occurs a lot more time in your surroundings like adverts, magazine, etc, you start to favour HD.

I admit a lot of these analysis are 'jump to the conclusion' but it happens everyday and a lot.

As in personal choice, I bought a HD-DVD player recently mainly because of price and I know that one day I may get a PS3 if the price becomes reasonable in my view. By then, I'll have the best of both and I don't really need to give a monkey who wins.

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Don't worry, Scott

superdynamite still thinks there is a resolution difference between 1080i and 1080p for film-based footage. I kind of tuned out after that.

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Why choose? Get both!

I don't understand this.

In my opinion, with the price of HD/Blu-Ray readers for PC's at an all-time low, why not get both, plug them into your media system and its a win win situation!?

Yeh ok, so your now going to say not everyone has a pc? I'm betting as early adopters, we all have and that a good majority of those will be plugged into our LCD/plasma's.

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Stop

@Scott Mckenzie

Scott Mckenzie,

Do you have a credible source, besides Toshiba, that have verified that the new 51 GB HD-DVD disk actually does work in already existing HD-DVD player, without physical alteration of the player, besides a firmware update?

And likewise, have you got a credible source for your claim that Blu-ray disks, that use Profile 2.0 features, will not work at all in Profile 1.0 or Profile 1.1 players, and not just not display, as an example, the PiP track?

Unless you got a credible source for a claim, then stop spreading information that you purport as to be the truth.

Some time ago, I read an interesting article about prices regarding replication on both formats. It might be of interest, although it has to be said that it was written back in February - http://wesleytech.com/blu-ray-vs-hd-dvd-replication-costs-analyzed-again/113/

Since that post was from February, I checked and found that ProActionMedia lists on their website how much it costs to replicate in either format,

HD-DVD: http://www.proactionmedia.com/hd_dvd_replication.htm

Blu-ray: http://www.proactionmedia.com/blu-ray_replication.htm

Although ProActionMedia is only able to procure single-layer Blu-ray disks, they practically cost the same as producing a size wise comparable HD-DVD disk.

The cost of producing a batch of a specified size is, according to ProActionMedia, as follows:

5.000 disks

Blu-ray 25 GB - $1.99

HD-DVD 30 GB - $1.99

10.000 disks

Blu-ray 25 GB - $1.79

HD-DVD 30 GB - $1.85

25.000 disks

Blu-ray 25 GB - $1.59

HD-DVD 30 GB - $1.69

100.000 disks

Blu-ray 25 GB - $1.49

HD-DVD 30 GB - $1.55

Of course, those prices are only from ProActionMedia, but finding a direct quotation, without having to contact the company, is not easy, so therefore I have only included ProActionMedia. I only bring this in, because I often hear that Blu-ray (the physical part of it) is much more expensive than HD-DVD. At least at ProActionMedia, getting a size wise comparable disk produced in either format is about the same, price wise. Now, ProActionMedia does not produce 50 GB disks, but the post from Wesleytech.com claims that it is approximately 12% more expensive to produce a double layer Blu-ray disk. Both formats will very likely have become cheaper to produce since Febuary, and since double layer Blu-ray disks have become much more used since then, it it likely that the price difference between a single and a double layer disk is reduced.

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