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back to article Blu-ray widens US disc sales lead

Blu-ray Disc player owners bought more discs during the US Thanksgiving holiday period than their HD DVD-owning counterparts did, numbers from market watcher Nielsen VideoScan reveal. Some 72.6 per cent of all HD discs purchased during the period were BDs, while 27.4 per cent were HD DVDs, according to Nielsen figures relayed by …

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Anonymous Coward

Watch for the effects of 'backing the wrong horse'

If HD DVD is a flop then the incentive to buy XBox360 + HD DVD as a means to play hidef discs is also lessened.

i.e. the negative effects of backing the wrong horse.

Paramount supposedly got $100 million, Dreamworks $50 million, so I guess if it ultimately costs them 3 million units of lost sales, Dreamworks will have made a bad choice. Paramount will have to miss out on say 6 million (I assume HD discs are a premium item still). So I guess they're still ahead currently, but after a few more movie releases, they'll start to feel the pain.

What I expect to see is HD DVD discs being discounted as HD DVD players are perceived to be the Betamax of formats, they will have to price down to sell them. But Dreamworks and Paramount will be committed to still selling their product in that format and DVD, so they'll suffer as it falls further behind.

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Paris Hilton

@Anon

Hmm, not sure I'd be brave enough to say that HD-DVD was 'Betamax'.. I certainly wouldn't say it of either tbh. I get what you are saying about Paramount and Dreamworks - it certainly is putting a lot of faith in a format considering this 'special arrangment', but then Sony has done the same (albeit it's their own).

Either or, if HD-DVD wins, I'll buy a decent player (not one of these cheap tat things..) and be happy playing BR games on the PS3 (remember that Sony will undoubtably still make games regardless of the Format War). If BR wins, then I've paid 100quid for a door stop and I won't have to buy INFERIOR MECHANDISE!! (Just kidding, just kidding *grin*)

Personally, I'm waiting for the figures around march as to which is the upper hand. I remember that a market researcher said to me that it takes a couple of months to coallate the figures from Xmas.. Roll on March!

Either way, I win :o)

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Jobs Halo

@Alex... BR vs HD

LOL.. Don't consider this VHS vs Beta just yet.

Sure BR offeres a greater capacity for storage.

Sure HD kit is being sold cheaper. (loss leader?)

But unlike the tape wars, these devices are also found in the gaming consoles and could also be used on computers for data backups.

50GB capacity is large enough for a lot of operations and back ups.

Much easier to handle than a tape and a lot less prone to magnetic interference.

Not to start rumors, but what do you think would happen if the manufacturing price point on a BR drive came down to the point where Apple could start to include a BR Burner in their high end kit?

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Rent vs. Own

I love the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray coverage on this site. However, I am waiting to see fresh figures released showing rentals of both formats. I own a PS3 and do not own a single movie. However, my mail order rental membership is on pace to cycle through every available title. Perhaps the US figures are slightly skewed by other Netflix and Blockbuster Online members that stopped buying DVDs a long time ago.

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Er..

I don't doubt the general message, but how is the steeper fall of BR from Q2-3 interpretable as 'widening the sales lead'?

Still, it would be fun to see MS forced to adopt their chief rival's format!

Nice to see 'disc' spelled properly, too.. :-)

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:p

As long as they are still selling even one more unit per month, they widen their lead. Even if they both sold the same every month from now on, blu-ray would still technically be "in the lead"

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@Mark

Are you one of those fun people from http://forum.blu-ray.com/showthread.php?t=25697 ?

Because your FUD sounds very much like the crap you get there.

Regarding your point on the 51GB HD DVD discs. Do you have a similar comment to make on profile 1.1 / 2.0 and potential problems for early Blu-Ray adopters?

You say all the major movie studios support Blu? Not true as you well know. Paramount, Dreamworks and Universal are HD DVD exclusive.

And you feel sorry for poor people buying bargain basement HD players. Personally I feel sorry for BR and HD-DVD fans, as there is more to life than being caught up in the idiotic fanboyism around little silver discs.

I prefer being fan of movies.

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BluRay - A simple question of common sense

Why is HD-DVD doomed?

Easy, it's a simple question of common sense. Worldwide Sony has sold at least 6 million PS3s, an the numbers of stand alone players (which are not commonly talked about a lot - yet) from the BluRay folks are not actually that far off the HD-DVD player numbers. In terms of total players though, BluRay is wiping the floor with HD-DVD.

Toshiba though likes to spin saying that PS3 owners don't even know they can play movies. Ya, really? What about all those PS3 owners that received Casino Royale, Spiderman 3 or that damned NASCAR movie? They know. And that is the point.

You own a PS3, you watched a movie (the freebie one that came with the PS3), games are going OK and you're out at Target or WalMart or some other store and want to buy a movie and you find that you can either pay $20 for the DVD or $30 for the Hi-Def version. Since you already have a BluRay player, why not spend a little more and treat yourself to the Hi-Def glory of BluRay? It really doesn't make much sense to go DVD if you can get the BluRay. After the first couple of purchases, it becomes painfully clear how much better Hi-Def movies are compared to standard DVD.

In the end, 6 million + BluRay owners (there are around half a million stand alone BluRay players and PS3 sales are around 6 million and growing) is a large customer base for movie sales. With BluRay players outselling HD-DVD by about 6:1 and movies consistently doing between 2:1 and 3:1, how much longer can Toshiba afford to subsidize HD-DVD? HD-DVD players are cheaper because they sell at a significant loss. BluRay players from the likes of Pioneer are more expensive, but Pioneer isn't losing money on the players, so they have an incentive to keep making the players and to keep developing new players. As the article points out, Toshiba is almost running HD-DVD solo as no one else wants to make players that they have to sell for a loss.

What I find remarkable is that so many people are against BluRay and for HD-DVD because they believe that BluRay is a Sony proprietary format. The real irony and shame is that in this case it's HD-DVD that *is* a proprietary format (HD-DVD belongs to Toshiba). BluRay on the other hand it a co-development with Sony, Pioneer and several other major CE companies and doesn't belong only to Sony. Ah well, why let reality intrude on otherwise fertile fanboy territory?

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Tim
Bronze badge

Some points...

1. Nielsen's stats don't include Wal-Mart sales apparently for a start. Probably a number of others.

2. They are just US stats. Funny enough, there is a world outside the US borders ;-) (and the only stats available for outside the US are mostly BDA spun stats).

3. All current sales stats anyway are based on sales as a result of player purchases made many months back. There's a whole new batch of HD DVD players on the market now creating quite a buzz (not just the $99 'dumped' players), especially in Europe, but nothing new in the Blu-Ray camp other than the PS3 which is getting hammered by the Wii anyway. Current sales will only impact after Christmas when the wrappings are taken off.

4. To put things in perspective: HD DVD and Blu-Ray sales combined account for less than 2% of all sales if you include DVD.

5. Finally... no movie format can survive on the basis of one player alone (i.e. the PS3), more so when it is seen in the minds of Joe Public as a games console. It doesn't matter if Blu-Ray is winning 99:1. It still won't survive, regardless of whether HD DVD does. Oh yeah there are standalone Blu-Ray players but these are largely irrelevant on the basis of price and being out of date the minute they reach the market.

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Flame

Christmas may be the deathblow

How many PS3's will shift over the next month, and how many people will supplement their new purchase with a BR film "just to see what its like".

Compare that to how many will take a chance on a player that only plays films, as well as the discs themselves.

It'll be interesting, and could seal HD-DVD's fate as a dud.

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Paris Hilton

Widening.. or narrowing?

OK.. am I being thick here, or does the graph show a narrowing of Blu-Ray's lead (ie the oppositie of the article's title)??

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@ Highlander

"Worldwide Sony has sold at least 6 million PS3s"

That's pathetic, compared to Wii sales. The PS3 may be Sony's Last Hurrah in the game console market - and when Sony stops selling the PS3 (at a *huge* loss, I might add), what happens to the BR market?

Personally, I'll stick with "plain vanilla" DVD as long as I have a working player. It has been my painful experience that the people who call themselves "early adopters" are deluded fools, discovering over and over again whose blood it is on the "bleeding edge" of consumer electronics technology.

In other words, until the *players* are selling at a decent price point (sub-US$100) all over, and the *recorders* (for PC use, at least) are at no more than 50% over that, *NO ONE* - neither BR nor HD DVD - will have "won the war."

See http://www.codenamerevolution.com/?page_id=3292 for sales figures. To date (or as "to date" as I can manage):

Wii: 13,977,569

Xbox 360: 11.6 Million

PS3: 5.59 Million

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Gates Horns

@ Tim, a summary of his post...

Tim said: 1. Nielsen's stats don't include Wal-Mart sales apparently for a start. Probably a number of others.

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Ok, so we can’t use the stats to talk about who is winning because the stats are wrong.

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Tim said: 2. They are just US stats. Funny enough, there is a world outside the US borders ;-) (and the only stats available for outside the US are mostly BDA spun stats).

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The stats are wrong. Points 1 and 2 are the same point.

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Tim said: 3. All current sales stats anyway are based on sales as a result of player purchases made many months back. There's a whole new batch of HD DVD players on the market now creating quite a buzz (not just the $99 'dumped' players), especially in Europe,

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The stats are wrong and old. Point 3 is the same point as 1 and 2.

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Tim said: but nothing new in the Blu-Ray camp other than the PS3 which is getting hammered by the Wii anyway.

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You made a mistake here. The Wii can’t play HD-DVD movies as you imply. Chocolate candies are also outselling the PS3. Most US households have more than 1 chocolate candy in them. PS3s are getting killed by the sale of chocolate candies. Of course, you can’t play Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs on a chocolate candy, is it doesn’t really apply here.

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Tim said: 4. To put things in perspective: HD DVD and Blu-Ray sales combined account for less than 2% of all sales if you include DVD.

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Ok, so the number of Blu-ray and HD-DVDs being sold is still small.

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Tim said: 5. Finally... no movie format can survive on the basis of one player alone (i.e. the PS3), more so when it is seen in the minds of Joe Public as a games console. It doesn't matter if Blu-Ray is winning 99:1.

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Ok, so if Blu-ray disc sales outsell HD-DVD 99:1, you don’t consider that winning? Point number 5 is: We can’t use the stats to determine who won which is very similar to points 1, 2, and 3.

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Anonymous Coward

Those 6 million PS3's aren't all plugged into HD displays

The BluRay camp never mentions the fact that a significant number of those "bundled" BluRay players are not plugged into HD screens, and in US households at least, probably a majority of them will be connected to a TV in a bedroom, or in the den, and not to the primary "big screen" where the family watches movies. They might get a taste for High def movies by trying out the BluRay player in the PS3, but when it comes to buying a dedicated HD player to plug into the 50" plasma, are they going to shell out $400 for a 2nd PS3, or $100 for a dedicated HD-DVD player?

In Europe the PS3 probably will be predominantly connected to the primary display in the living room, but that's not at all a foregone conclusion in the US.

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Morely Dotes

What was the point of your post exactly? Where in my post did I say anything about PS3 sales being great compared to Wii or 360? The topic is BluRay and HD-DVD, Wii has zero to do with either. PS3 happens to be the most common BluRay playback device in use right now so it is front and center in this discussion as a BluRay player.

Your numbers and tongue wagging add nothing to the discussion.

Anon Coward, regarding PS3s connected to standard Def TVs rather than High Def TVs. In case you are frequently passed by technological advance I suggest reading sites like the Register more often. Then you might be aware of how many 10s of millions of HD TVs have been sold worldwide and how the number of PS3s (and Xbox360s) connected to SDTVs is actually no where near as high as you imply. Sorry, but your general statements and handwaving an argument do not make. Show me some cold hard facts that backup your assertion that people are forking out $400-$600 for a PS3 of whatever model and then not even bothering to take advantage of the Hi-Def capabilities that it is sold on. You'd have a hard time arguing that for the 360 as well. I will bet that the vast majority of Wii are plugged into SDTVs or TVs in bedrooms. That is something of the nature of the beast - although even at standard Def resolutions, I bet a lot of the games work pretty well on the bigger screens too.

In any even you and Morely are indulging in the usual habit of ignoring actual sales of movies in favor of generalization and hand waving. Such a pity only the actual movie sales matter.

BTW for the person bemoaning this as an America set of numbers, just last week there was a report on this very site talking about how BluRay movie sales in Europe were trouncing HD-DVD.

Seems like the sales figures speak for themselves.

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Tim
Bronze badge

Re: @ Tim, a summary of his post...

"You made a mistake here. The Wii can’t play HD-DVD movies as you imply. Chocolate candies are also outselling the PS3. Most US households have more than 1 chocolate candy in them. PS3s are getting killed by the sale of chocolate candies. Of course, you can’t play Blu-ray or HD-DVD discs on a chocolate candy, is it doesn’t really apply here."

The point I was making is really to counter the argument that most Blu-Ray fans have that everyone will own a PS3 and by definition have a Blu-Ray player. Problem is the PS3 is a games console, and is getting hammered by the Wii (a games console). The PS3's relevance as a games console is important. If it wasn't, no one would spend £300+ on it just to watch films.

Yes the Wii doesn't play HD movies... but that's the point.

Most people are not interested in HD movies!

That the Wii is doing so well, just shows how depending on the PS3 for the success of your format is doomed to failure ultimately (even if it sells more than HD DVD).

Thus...

"Ok, so if Blu-ray disc sales outsell HD-DVD 99:1, you don’t consider that winning?"

It's "winning" in that it's selling more, and HD DVD may even fail completely, but my point is Blu-Ray would still likely fail subsequently if it just depends on the PS3.

DVD will reign for the next 10 years if it goes on like this and neither HD DVD or Blu-Ray will really "win", they both fail. Ultimately we all lose out, and all thanks to Sony who were too stuborn to do a deal with the DVD Forum (of which they are members) and combine the formats. They were offered the chance many times, but refused to develop their own format which is barely any different other than it makes them more money.

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BluRay = The New Laserdisc?

The way things are going, I suspect that BluRay will "win" in the sense that it is turning out to be more popular than HD-DVD. For a combination of reasons, though the main ones are Disney support and PS3 owners getting the best player out there for "free". Although that latter point must be rather galling for all the dedicated player manufacturers, who can't use software sales to subsidise their hardware.

But while DVDs continue to make up the vast majority of sales, and prices for the HD format software remain high thanks to unavoidable manufacturing expenses that come from the coating process, I wonder if it will ever take over the mainstream.

Re: 1.1/2.0 issues, as a fellow HD-DVD owner I say that they're not worth making BluRay owners worry about too much. Any BD-ROM disc that won't play on a PS3 would be commercial suicide, so it's just not going to happen.

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@ Tim

How can you blame Just Sony there was far more compelling stuff as to why Apple, HP, Dell, Samsung all didnt want to go with HD DVD.

And let me make some facts clear for you

Sony and NEC mergered their Optical divisions and made a joint company which Sony own 55%. NEC was in the HD DVD Camp so pick up rayalties from all HD DVD and now Sony owns it they pick them up

PS3 only made a huge loss to begin with about 3 months ago they started to break even in the US (Europe is still a year away from breaking even)

Toshiba focus is too much on America and thats why its losing Japan and Europe. I know someone in Toshiba UK and says the sales guys aren't even targeted on selling HD DVD products

I have simply gone for Blu Ray as i have a PS3 and i can play all my old DVD's upscaled on to my TV and thats all i need.

Oh and another one for Deluded Tim DVD struggled to take off until the PS2 so can a console make or break (i think you answered it yourself with the sales of DVD's)

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Black Helicopters

What is included in the figures

Hey,

I thought that HD DVD was backed by the porn industry? Since world wide porn sales far eclipse the movie and music businesses combined I think that this should not be ignored.

The Porn industry do not want to have to pay the hefty fees the Bluray camp charge so once they start producing hd media who knows, the game may be over (or we could end up with 2 systems, one for family viewing and the other well......

Just my 2 pence worth.

W.

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Alien

Game not won

As a European that purchased the 99 USD player on a recent trip, and took advantage of the 5 free disk mail in offer, HD-DVD player was effectively free to me.

I still think HD-DVD has a fighting chance:

1) Less DRM ... I can order movies from amazon, my PS3 buddies cant

2) Less DRM ... No BD+ to screw up my player

3) Sales figure skewed by some studios only releasing BR

4) Manufacturing. HD-DVD can be printed in DVD plants, not so with BR

5) HD-DVD movie demand should be on the increase after dumping players.

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Defenseless!

In the early and middle part of this year, I was sure either format has a chance. I took my chances with HD-DVD, counting on the lower pricing than BD. Frankly speaking, when people started to defend the low sales of HD-DVD, I knew that I must have made a mistake. After the Toshiba HD-DVD player dump, I expected a lot of movie sales number coming from that, but I did not. I own one of those Toshiba players and I am not sure if it was worth defending anymore. I am throwing in the towel. I am glad to have paid only $100, plus change. Not sure if I am ready to join Bluray camp yet, but the handwriting is on the wall.

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synergy

It also depends on retail of HDTV! :)

At the moment, HDTV is becoming more affordable, but there's limited support beyond games and purchased/rented discs. The old skool basic DVD market is on the way out, but it's not dead yet - see any rental store to see the numbers. When they reach a tipping point of 50% HD, that'll be proof that the money is there as consumers have finally shifted over.

While the target demo of this website is the young affluent technical spender, the reality is a lot of people will sit back and wait till they have enough HD outputs to buy a HD TV, and until then they don't care. I don't know about you, but in Ireland, Sky HD is pricey and limited to just a few channels in HD. So unless I buy a ps3 or Xbox tree-sitty, it's not worth my while to drop a grand in euro on a nice TV when non-HD is so very affordable.

Ultimately there will be a turning point where buyers stop being early adopters and become mainstream, but there's enough uncertainty at the moment between resolution, HD outputs, and the HDDVD format wars that many people are waiting it out, which makes it all so unpredictable. And of course the wii added to this!

It's great fun, but whichever one you choose, do try to avoid becoming an extremist champion of either format, flaming people for posting on technical websites... ;)

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Stop

Two formats can survive - we may prefer one but...

Betamax lost out to VHS. The main reason for that was that Sony did not want porn assoicatied with its format. The video rentals were heavily affected - which helped kill off Betamax.

I think BD will win out in the long run, but if enough of both systems are sold - both types will survive. I drive a diesel car - there are more petrol cars out there. Do I worry about not being able to find a fuel station that supports both. No.

When I go into my local blockbusters - they have Xbox360 and PS3 games. I dont think that is likely to change in the near future. (Wii games as well of course).

I would love all the best games to come out on just the one platform. However that would only be good in the short term. If the PS3 dominated the market - it would be a much longer time before a PS4 comes out. Competition helps innovation.

It is a pain having two separate formats. The companies behind them are in it for the money. There is nothing wrong with that. That is how companies survive. Only in communist countries where they have taken a dim view of such "silly" competition, would this not happen. Unfortunately you just end up with very little innovation in such circumstances.

If both formats really take off - then films are likely to end up on both formats. Just like a lot of games are on both the PS3 and the Xbox360.

I think Sony were right in placing the BD in the PS3 - long term it will help its sales over Xbox360 and drive BD adoption. Mind you I thought the Wii would fall flat on its face - and boy did I get that wrong...

Cambsman

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