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HD DVD Report Says Discs Outsold Blu-ray

13 Oct, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold

Consumers who bought one of the new Toshiba high-def disc players, which came on the market in April, have bought an average of 8.4 HD DVD discs each, according to new research presented this week by the North American HD DVD Promotional Group.

Research, based on Nielsen reports, also shows that during August HD DVD movies outsold Blu-ray Disc movies by a factor of nearly three to one. Universal Studios Home Entertainment's The Fast and The Furious: Tokyo Drift, the top-selling DVD for the week ending Oct. 1, also came one of the fastest-selling HD DVDs, selling thorugh 30% of its inventory its first day in stores.

It should be noted, though, that Blu-ray didn't launch until late June, and in August only a handful of software titles were available.

“Congratulations to the HD DVD team — they outsold Blu-ray when we didn't have any product in the market,” quipped Steve Feldstein, SVP of marketing communications for 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Fox is one of six studios supporting Blu-ray. HD DVD has just three studios in its camp, and two of them, Warner Home Video and Paramount Home Entertainment, support Blu-ray, as well.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group projects that the average HD DVD household will own more than 28 HD DVDs after one year, about twice the buy rate of DVD at its peak.

The research was presented at Digital Life 2006 in New York City Oct. 12.

Also at Digital Life, Universal announced the first HD DVD title shot entirely in high-definition, Miami Vice. The film, coming to stores Dec. 5, will arrive as a DVD/HD DVD combo disc, with the ‘R'-rated version of the film in standard DVD on one side and the unrated version on HD DVD on the other.

The unrated version includes 19 minutes of never-before-seen footage as well as some cutting-edge special features. Through a proprietary “U Control” menu system, viewers can watch the movie and at the same time check out the tech specs on the expensive cars and boats in the film. They also can track the car chases through the streets of Miami with an on-screen GPS locator, or examine production photos and detail about the cast without ever having to leave the movie.

Craig Kornblau, Universal Studios Home Entertainment president, said Universal intends to take “full advantage of the unique capabilities only HD DVD can offer.”

“When you add in the combo disc option that gives you both a standard DVD version and a high-definition version of the movie on one disc, consumers can be assured that it will play on any player in the home,” he said. “We're not settling for offering great high definition movies with cutting-edge interactivity – we also want to deliver value by future-proofing your collections.”

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