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Titles Give Blu-ray Advantage

5 Feb, 2007 By: Stephanie Prange

The scales are tipping in favor of Blu-ray Disc, according to data.

Since the inception of both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, the Toshiba-backed HD DVD disc still has sold more units than its competitor, according to Nielsen VideoScan data through the week ended Jan. 21.

But Blu-ray is closing in. Blu-ray has sold 100 units to every 50.51 units of HD DVD discs year to date.

HD DVD had a headstart on Blu-ray disc sales because of its earlier launch. However, in late December, following the Nov. 17 launch of Sony's Blu-ray-enabled PlayStation 3, Blu-ray Disc began to catch up in unit sales, according to Nielsen VideoScan data.

Blu-ray has the advantage of more major studio support. All of the majors, save Universal Studios Home Entertainment, support the format. Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Lionsgate, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment exclusively support Blu-ray.

In that vein, Ken Graffeo, EVP of marketing for HD DVD supporter Universal Studios Home Entertainment, noted that the release slate plays a big part in the numbers. HD DVD supporters didn't have any big HD titles in January, he said.

Indeed, industry newsletter The DVD Release Report shows that, in 2006, there were 129 Blu-ray titles released to HD DVD's 140. However, so far this year, through Jan. 26, the Blu-ray suppliers have released almost double the number of HD DVD titles. There have been 20 Blu-ray releases to 11 for HD DVD.

Blu-ray backers have long listed studio support as a major advantage in the format war.

During the recent Consumer Electronics Show, studio supporters touted the title lineup on Blu-ray as a deciding factor in the high-definition disc format war.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn noted the surge in Blu-ray sales following the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3 game console.

“I really believe the format war is in its final phase,” Dunn said.

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