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back to article Blu-ray winning in Europe

Europeans together own more than 55,000 HD DVD players and Xbox 360 add-on drives, it has emerged, but that total pales beside the number of PlayStation 3s sold over here: 750,000. Market watcher Understanding and Solutions - which has long vociferously forecast Blu-ray's victory in the format war - provides the figure for …

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Tom
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No-brainer

I know several people, myself included. That have purchased a PS3, simply because it's a high end, self updating bluray player that happens to sport a cell engine games system. I can't understand what shortsightedness is causing people to think that HD-DVD had a chance against the PS3, well played sony, you've actually won one!

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Ian

Yeah

It's just a shame they had to lose the console war to win the format war.

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no forgetting

the news that sony are supporting the transfer of a copy of a bluray movie to your connected PSP too.. finally some actual thinking gone into interconnectivity between media devices - bye bye UMD (we never loved you anyway you repackaged minidisc!)

Still, I find the "battle" between bluray and hd dvd to be pointless and I don't give them longer than 5 more years before both formats become also rans. Digital HD downloads and flash memory is creeping up on these two old farts of a medium ;)

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jai
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finally

great to finally get some european figures and interesting to see the statistics.

will be interesting to see if the figure continue to climb now that the hi-def war is drawing to a close - most of the people i know do not really appear that bothered by HD or BD formats and continue to buy dvds

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@Tom

People who bought the PS3 primarily as a blu-ray player aren't all that relevant to the discussion, since they presumably would have bought a standalone player had the PS3 not been available. Remember, the point of Sony's strategy was to use the PS3 to turn gamers into Blu-Ray consumers, not the other way around (although you could argue, given the price difference between the PS3 and similar standalone players, that the possibility of turning movie fans into gamers was not ignored).

I suspect that HD-DVD was operating on the assumption that only a small proportion of gamers would be willing/able to purchase the large HDTVs that are necessary to make the PS3's Blu-Ray playback facility useful. Clearly they underestimated the allure of big-screen HD gaming.

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Bronze badge

Both formats...

Will both formats be going the way of VideoCD? Popular with its fans, but the general public couldn't really give a flyer.

My DVD's are good enough thankyou very much. I'll wait until Blue-HD to be released in ultraturbospangly definition (or the current players + disks match the price point of current DVD's).

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Region coding will be the deciding factor

Whether or not people watch BDs on their PS3s is pretty much irrelevant and won't make a difference to whether or not BD succeeds DVD as media of choice. The fact that you can easily get region-free DVD players here and the expense of BD kit and discs, coupled with a lack of perceived value in the "HD experience" means that this format will continue to be a niche player. If the format was region-neutral, I'd give it some hope, but in its present locked-down state, no way.

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is it over yet?

WTS, one Xbox 360 with HD-DVD player... :s

*sigh*

My 360 sounds like a hoover while playing HD-DVD movies. Which kind of makes our expensive theatre sound setup pointless. I have quite a large collection of HD-DVDs now... so thinking of moving the Xbox HD drive to my Mac (I believe there are drivers kicking around out there) and going BR with a PS3.

What's really irritating is both camps, BlueRay (Sony) and HD-DVD (MS/Tosh) really screwed up; Sony made a dogs dinner of the PS3 (inspired device, dumb price, arrogant support for devs) and MS totally screwed up the 360 (no built in HD-DVD drive, massive failure rates, roars like a hoover while switched on). And that leaves us, the poor (even poorer now I have to buy a damn PS3) consumers , in the middle :s

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@ No-Brainer and Yeah

No-Brainer:

Similarly, I bought a great games console which has the added benefit of playing blu-ray and upscaling DVD. The fact that it could do this influenced my decision to get a PS3 over any of the other consoles. I may even move my HDD DVD Recorder if/when the dual freeview PS3 attachment becomes available. Upgrade the HDD to 250gig and I pretty much have one box that does the lot....

Yeah:

I'm not sure that it has completely lost it. With more games coming online this year and prices continuing to become more competitive i think it may catch a second wind (well, it never really had a first!) when people replace their wii's through sheer boredom.

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Unhappy

@alphaxion

Just downloading one HD movie would probably blow a month's worth of "fair use" but if everyone's doing it, the contention ratio of domestic broadband will mean it would take a month to do the download!

The idea of downloading music has been around for years, yet obtaining legal, value for money, high fidelity music over the internet is still a pipe-dream, thanks to a greedy music industry unwilling to accept a new business model.

Pay-per-view movie services from cable and satellite are a step in the right direction, but the prices don't compare favourably with bricks & mortar rental stores when you factor in the savings from not having to produce the physical media.

So I think your "5 more years" is more than a little optimistic for downloaded HD content.

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Ian

@ ElFatBob

"I'm not sure that it has completely lost it. With more games coming online this year and prices continuing to become more competitive i think it may catch a second wind (well, it never really had a first!) when people replace their wii's through sheer boredom."

Isn't this the same for all the consoles though? The Wii and 360 both have a good catalog of games ahead also (new Pikimin, Zelda, Gears of War 2, Fable 2 etc. etc.) so the PS3 is no way unique there. I'd argue if anything the price situation is the PS3's biggest problem, Sony still aren't turning a profit on sales of the system yet whilst Microsoft and Wii are making pretty decent profits off their consoles now. I wouldn't be suprised to see the Wii and 360 available at sub £150 marks by the end of the year - the 360 arcade version already made it down to £149.99 at Gamestation in the January sales for a short while. Sony are just about keeping their heads above the water in terms of price vs. the other consoles but whilst the Wii and 360 will be able to drop to sub-£150 and still turn a profit by the end of the year can Sony really afford to compete with these prices when it may only just be beginning to turn a profit at £299? It is after all the sub-£150 mark that consoles really begin to sell as has been show historically with the PS2 and so forth. If it does turn out this way then we will almost certainly see the PS3 end up like the Gamecube did last generation.

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decision made for me

I Like the occasional game, but I enjoy watching movies... as the DVD drive in my old XBMC is on itsway out, the logical choice was a PS3, the deciding factor being the Blueray drive...

So im not sure... has Sony Turned a casual Gamer into a BD Consumer, or is it the other way round??!!! :)

oh... and the fact that i can sit in bed and watch any of my video content on my PSP, or I can hide at work and do the same, is just awesome!!!

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no brainer

yeah just bought combo dirve, I'll buy which ever format is the cheapest.

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IT Angle

Is there any physical reason a PS3 cannot play an HD-DVD?

I would have thought, just a software upgrade and the PS3 could play both formats.

Or do the dual standard plays have two reading heads?

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still pretty irrelevent.

I think that HD discs will stay a niche market.

If apple bring it's appleTV HD movie rental service to Europe this year I see a brighter future for that than for BD or HD-DVD at current prices. With the rental at 3.99€ and the HD discs around 30€ you would have to watch a movie 7 times to make it worthwile to buy the disc.

Of course this doesn't include the price of bandwith , which may give a case for disc in the case of some poorly connected peoples.

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Heart

its only just started

Things will start to change soon. Price is a massive factor affecting most peoples decision to purchase the PS3 and TVs.

1080p FULL HDTVs are in the affordable band now. PS3 has had a price cut and another is expected in the future.

Next gen is now gen. And in the now gen world there is no way to get the lots of bits of information down the internet pipe.

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Boffin

@Robert Forsyth

It's a very strange thing that I've been asking myself as well. From how I understand it, it's the same laser (blue) in HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, contrary to popular belief that HD-DVD is a "red" laser system.

However, I think the control chips for the laser is hardcoded to read the data from a specific format - it passes a stream of data from the disc. It's this part that would require "upgrading" and I don't believe it's programmable.

Combo drives can exist, and have been able to for the best part of a year now:

http://www.news.com/NEC-unveils-chip-to-bridge-Blu-rayHD-DVD-divide/2100-1041_3-6124799.html

It seems cost is the only real barrier due to royalties - that and the major manufacturers have pledged allegiance to one camp or the other and wouldn't be seen dead supporting the other one.

Basically it all comes down to politics, as nearly everything eventually does.

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Silver badge

Downloads...

ONE HD disk is a typical months download...

You want full 1920 x1080 quality, not some rubbish psuedo 844x480 fake HD.

Most people's broadband can in reality barely support DVD quality download. HD is about x5 the content.

I "download" my DVDs from Tesco, play.com, HMV and the australian HBO etc. as real disks.

I don't want a noisy 10Tbyte RAID media server in the living room.

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Anonymous Coward

@Ian

'Sony still aren't turning a profit on sales of the system yet'

The figures tell a different story

http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/PlayStation-profit,news-27371.html

It looks very much like HDTV is driving sales. As people replace their old TV, they usually think 'I may as well get an HD one'. Once you have a HDTV, it becomes tempting to buy a HD movie player. As blu-ray is more successful, people are looking at the cost of a stand-alone drive or the PS3 and the PS3 comes out very favorably even if you are a non-gamer. Expect a lot more sales of the PS3 this year, I would think that it will even overtake the 360

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Stop

@ian

I guess you're a 360 owner then?

The only reason to doubt the PS3 is how early the 360 was released by comparison, and the lead it gained in sales.

Unfortunately, terrible build quality (red ring of death anyone?) poor graphics compared to the PS3 and the lack of a build in HD player will ultimately spell success for it's rival the PS3.

Also, once the war is finally over, and everyone realises that blu-ray is the way forward sales will increase even more I suspect.

And no, I don't own a PS3. Or a 360. Although I'm considering buying one. I'll let you guess which.

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Old News

I don't think Sony's hurting as much as people like to believe. As for the US console sales, last I saw was:

PS2 & PS3 = 1.9 mil (1.1 and 0.8)

XBox = 1.25 mil

Wii = 1.35 mill

Worldwide:

PS2 & PS3 = 46%l (30 & 16)

XBox = 17%

Wii = 37%

Good summary here with a pretty unhealthy future slated for the X-Box.

http://dum.rd.macnn.com/2008/01/31/video-game-consoles-2007-wii-ps3-and-the-death-of-microsofts-xbox-360/

One thing I don't really get tho with regard to the HD-DVD versus Blue Ray thing is the "region codes" issue. How often to peeps run into a problem here ? I mean how many of us are trouncing from our NYC penthouse to our villa in the south of France and finishing with a month in Hong Kong before returning home to NYC ? And dragging our video collections with us ? Not that I understand why Sony bothers. Seems to easy to circumvent by either using region code stripping software or just buying a player from the region you wanna add. What am I missing here ?

I am much more concerned about scratch protection than region codes and with the ever increasing height of my "Leaning Tower of Pisa" scale model made from now unusable scratched game CD's, I personally lean to the more practical scratch resistance of the BR's.

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re old news

Not to be too picky, but I notice you combine PS2 and PS3, yet only quote X-Box 360 figures. That is kind of cheating when you consider the success the PS2 has been and still is. The figures do look different if you say X-Box (360) 1.25 million, PS3 0.8 million. Which means you are fair to both sides.

Based on your figures, you could add DS and Wii together just to be the complete Nintendo fanboy:-)

Having said that, I am now considering buying into the HD player market. And there are some good title out for the PS3 now. And yes, I already own a 360. Then again, over the past fifteen years, I have eventually ended up owning most consoles. Remember, it's all about the games and you will always have platform exclusives that make that particular platform worth buying.

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The Real Issue for Me Is...

not that Blu-Ray is technically superior-- it's the fact it's owned by Sony. This is the same Sony that own movie studios and puts root-kits in CDs. I was in the Blu-Ray camp in the beginning, but now I was hoping for HD to win.

Since Morita left, I've never trusted Sony.

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Unhappy

@John

There's a large number of DVDs which aren't available in region 2, so if you live in the UK, you have to import region 1 DVDs. Personally, about half my collection is region 1 (mostly anime, but also things like Cosmos and Bullshit), the other half is region 2. May laptop is fixed to region 1, our old DVD player was fixed to region 2 (though our new one plays anything).

I did think about getting one of the new iMacs as a DVD player/web browser, but the region encoding issue makes it useless in that role (I could fiddle with open source player software, but if I'm going to fiddle around with things like that, I might as well stick with the old Linux box which currently fills that role).

So yeah, region encoding is a big pain. Having said that, I got a PS3 to use with a new HD TV, since even if Blu-ray lost I could still use it as a games console.

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Paris Hilton

To be honest I don't give a rats A!

To be honest looking at the available titles locally not one is literally worth the upgrade costs as they are all virtually crap with non competitive prices thus do not induce one to invest in upgrading equipment for this new media !

As for the local prices for one blank recordable disc one could buy about 100 equivalent Taiyo Yuden blank standard single sided DVD's for the same price and finally the cost of the recorder is such one can buy thirty replacement standard DVD recorders for the price of one unit !

The winner is the cheapest option as always and stone the crows for the rest as they would say down under in Oz

Now if the price of the recordable blanks was twice that of a standard issue blank DVD , then may be that will be the time to bite the upgrade bullet and not before !

But who gives a crap anyway not Paris anyway !

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Boffin

@Region coding will be the deciding factor

I agree. The one reason I dislike Sony is because they're always pro-region-locking.

But then again, this probably means, that BD players using unauthorized reverse-engineered chips that ignore region settings and bypasses AACS will probably flood the market soon (besides, there are already AACS and region bypass for PCs with HD drives out there (read: AnyDVD-HD). Given that fact, I'd expect them Panashiba, Mitsumaru and other weird-brand China-made players that ignores the regions and AACS settings (and as an extra bonus, output everything as unprotected through the HDMI port, godsent for those owning HD-Ready TVs that don't have a HDCP chip) coming soon.

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Flame

@John

Given your addition above, I guess you are American (NYC?).

For you, I'm sure the region coding isn't an issue at all. You live in region 1.

For Region-2 dwellers (most of Europe), there is an entirely different world.

Releases are up to a year later in the shops. If they appear at all. Often they are sent through a local distributor, who to allow for different language dubbing, strips off such useless things as DTS sound (or even worse: Recompresses the AC3 track to save space!), so there are three options:

-Late arrival

-Late and massacred arrival

-No arrival at all.

All three pushes consumers against getting region-1 coded discs. But the movie industry decided that they wanted to protect their fellow conspirators in the distribution network. And to do that, they introduced the region coding in the first place. This way, a player bought in, say, Norway or the UK, could only play Region-2 stuff that had increased profits of the local scam-houses re-packaging the film (and, often destroying soundtracks and/or video quality to reduce costs). _THIS_ is why you will find that almost EVERY European has bought, or is considering, a region-free player (in some countries shops are even forced by law, to MARK those players that are not region free). And I'm not the least bit suprised an American wouldn't see the point, since he's alredy in Region-1

The real issue here, is that most Americans think "worldwide" means 50 states. Sorry.

//Svein

p.s. Where's the MAFIAA icon?

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@ Mr. Eman

and anyone else who labels Blu-Ray as Sony, it's not! Sony is only one player in a list of 18 consumer electronics who all own Blu-Ray, no one company has ultimate say in Blu-Ray, it is a conglomerate! Just because Sony have released the most successful blu-ray player in the PS3 does not make blu-ray Sony's.

On the other hand, you can easily say that HD-DVD is toshiba, as there is only one other consumer electronics company behind it, which is so small no one can remember its name.

@ ian, shame you xbox fanboys can't see past the end of your noses! I did own an xbox and due to it failing on me multiple times and the awful service i got from MS, i got rid of it, and now have a PS3, and to be honest with you i have never looked back. The library of games is great these days, and to top it all off, it has got me into HD movies, owning more blu-ray movies now than i do games for the console. Also, it was only last week that quite a few independant reviews have stated that the ps3 will take over from the xbox360 at least here in europe by the end of the year, although it will be a while before either consoles can get anywhere close to the Wii.

As for anyone claiming downloaded hd movies are the way forward ROFL..... To get a HD movie and a decent PCM soundtrack to the movie you will need to download at least 30GB of data! fine we can all go out and get a 20Meg pipe if we want, but the backbone of the internet also has to be capable of downloading such vast quantities across the globe, which unfortunately, it isn't capable of yet, maybe another ten years.....

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Tim
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Loaded stats

Great. As said, though more Blu-Ray discs are being sold just because there are more PS3s about than any other player, it's clear that PS3 owners are actually not that interested in Blu-Ray. They buy one disc (or a fraction of one going by the stats), and that's it.

Blu-Ray wins, and no one's interested.

Attach Rates would be a better figure to look at, but the heavily aggressive pro-Blu camp have better marketing, which is really what's "won" it.

Personally if I ever go for Blu, I'll be waiting for a "proper" player, not an overpriced under-featured console (especially in the UK). Something that *fully* supports profile 1.1/2.0, and has high-end AV components, ideally with internal decoding of all HD audio formats (PS3 doesn't do this), and *full* support for DTS-HD MA (PS3 doesn't do this) or *full* bitstreaming of HD audio formats (PS3 doesn't do this). AND I expect a remote control in the box! (PS3 doesn't include one!).

On top of that, I'll have to wait even longer for full profile 1.1/2.0 discs to be released. At present I'm buying the HD DVD equivalents because there's no way Warner and co will be re-releasing their Blu-Ray versions with 1.1/2.0 features any time soon and the HD DVD versions are superior.

As for HD DVD. Let's see what the sales data for the first quarter of this year brings. £100 for an HD DVD player with 7 free films after all must have generated some interest (and going by most AV / film forums, a *lot* of interest).

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Unhappy

i'll choose the format that ....

Is region unlocked...

Has widespread use of PIP....

Is cheap...

Allows SD and HD disc on a dual format disc...

That is bluray isn't it?

What? It isn't?

Damn!

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Happy

I'll keep buying HD-DVD whilst I can

I own an xbox 360 + hd-dvd and a PS3. Obviously had the 360 longer but i certainly am not a fanboy for m$oft or sony. 360 is running at 1920x1080 via VGA and PS3 same res via hdmi on the same Sony (!) 1080p TV. I find it easy to say give me the xbox and hd-dvd any day over ps3 and bluray. Quality of graphics in games seems better and so does playback of discs and multiplayer on xbox live makes games. My hd-dvd addon will keep playing the discs I have and I am sure if bluray does ever win over Tosh then they will make dual format machines. For now I will keep buying ever cheaper region free hd-dvd with their better quality extras and leave ps3 to play games that i cannot get on the xbox.

I do with the fan on 360 was quieter though. My Ps3 is near silent. Actually most of the time it is silent cause I'm on the 360.

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Stop

HD-DVD Outselling iPod

The Toshiba HD-DVD player last week was the best selling electrical item on Play.com even outselling the iPod! The more expensive Toshiba HD-DVD model came in at number 5. This week the Tosh is at number 5.

Sony BD didn't even make the top 100 and the closest BD player was from Samsung and that came in at number 67.

Cost talks and now the price point of the Toshiba HD-DVD's is at an acceptable level things have started to change.

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