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Format Sales Bravado in Overdrive as Year-End Nears

3 Dec, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

With Christmas less than a month away, perception would appear to be reality when it comes to sales of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players and movies.

The same day the HD DVD Promotional Group reported that U.S. sales of HD DVD players exceeded 750,000 units, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) said movie disc sales in Europe had topped 1 million units, representing about 73% of all HD movies sold.

The BDA, citing third-party data, said the software tally would top 21 million units when factoring in video games due to the Sony PlayStation 3 game console, which includes a Blu-ray drive.

The two formats remain engaged in a bitter tug-of-war for market dominance regarding the future of packaged media in a high-definition age — seen by many studios as a surrogate to dormant DVD sales.

“Sales of PlayStation 3 for Sony are disappointing but still counted in the millions rather than hundreds of thousands of homes for HD DVD,” said analyst Tom Adams of Adams Media Research. “If [PS3 households] were buying lots of movies, the Blu-ray ratio would be stratospheric versus HD DVD.”

Adams said sales of standalone Blu-ray players in the United States should top 370,000 households by the end of the year and 50,000 households in Western Europe, which includes the United Kingdom, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Spain, France and Germany.

By comparison, Adams, citing Wal-Mart's recent $99 HD DVD player sale as a catalyst, projected 580,000 U.S. homes with HD DVD players by the end of the year and 150,000 households in Western Europe.

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