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Why early high-def disc adoption rates don't really matter

Blu-ray appears to be opening up a lead on its high-definition rival, according to first quarter sales figures gathered by Home Media Magazine. The numbers weigh heavily in Blu-ray's favor: 70 percent of all HD titles purchased by consumers were in that format. For the month of March alone, that figure was closer to 75 percent. Sales of Blu-ray discs also passed the 1 million mark since their launch. But there's a very big reason to take all of these numbers with several grains of salt; more on that later.

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arstechnica.com
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nix3561d ago

an article comparing apple to oranges! nothing new!

Torch3561d ago

these early numbers indeed matter...especially if the trend continues as we head toward the holiday season a half-year from now. Part of the reason Blu-Ray is selling so well is because of the overall-superior titles (i.e., greater studio support.) the format makes available. This does and shall indeed drive hardware sales.

However, Blu-Ray is nonetheless currently missing out on an enormous chunck of the market as a result of outrageously priced stand-alones (compared to those available for HD-DVD.) As the year progresses, it's going to be the PS3 - and not the expensive dedicated players - which may help reinforce the format's market dominance.

Sony better tread cautiously though, because now that pro-HD-DVD Wal-Mart is now in the picture, their gigantic momentum may be enough to (ultimately) make HD-DVD a household name.

Sony & co.'s only saving grace may be that Wal-Mart isn't expected to release the players until 2008, which may give them some time to push hordes of PS3's out the door, and figure out a means to lower the prices of those standalones to a price level that will render Wal-Mart's cheap (and lower-quality) alternatives as insignificant.

Although I would love to understand the logic behind Wal-Mart's head-scratching decision to support HD-DVD. Is it possible that they plan to test the waters with some Blu-Ray goodness as well?

Scrumptious3561d ago

These numbers truly do not matter yet. Both formats are a fraction of DVD sales. The trend to watch is dedicated player sales, which HD-DVD leads 3 to 1. Blu-Ray's movie sales factor in PS3 owners and a flood of new releases. But gamers make up only a small percentage of overall movie consumers. Compare UMD sales to DVD sales for an example of this. The PS3 helps the numbers look good now becuase both formats are so new, but not in the longrun. You cannot win a film format war with a video game machine.

Torch3561d ago (Edited 3561d ago )

and were targeted specifically at PSP owners; HD media is (ultimately) destined for the masses (not necessarily videogamers), as it is destined to replace an existing widely-accepted medium (DVD).

In addition, it is absolutely impossible to rule out the influence that the PS3 does - and will - have on HD media-based sales. Not only can it indeed be directly comparable to any stand-alone HD player (in terms of quality, functionality, and sometimes even price), but any PS3 machine brought into the home instantly and automatically 'trojans' a full-fledged HD-DVD player into the household by default.

Yes, you're indeed correct by declaring that gamers make up a relatively small portion of movie consumers...but that's only because the consumer movie market is so insanely large. In other words, aren't many, if not most of those hardcore gamers also avid movie fans? I know I sure am. Coupled with a juicy HD screen that was purchased for game playing, wouldn't the temptation be just too great, to not eventually take advantage of the opportunity of popping in a Blu-Ray flick for some HD viewing goodness, when the hardware's already set up and ready to go?

And that's just taking the gamers into consideration. How about those gamers (or parents of gamers) who bring the machine directly into the living room of a household which also comprises non-gamers who hold some form of interest in movies or other media...Pops the avid film afficionado...or little sibling Johnny, who needs his occasional fix of Shrek the Third...Mom, who's just itching to show off the vacation pictures to her weekly bridge partners from the comfort of her couch. If the machine's just sitting there when it's not spitting out games...why NOT take advantage of it's otherwise-impressive capabilities?

Finally, there's the third type of non-gaming-but-movie-loving consumer, who purchases the system because it flat-out IS a Blu-Ray player...one of comparable price point, features (and arguably even value) to the so-called stand-alone players. It's gaming abilities are negligible.

Of course, one can always argue whether Sony's integration of Blu-Ray into the PS3 is justifiable (an arguement which is automaticallly ultimately settled via the 'dollar-votes' of the consumer), but I have a very difficult time not seeing that the PS3 can only be beneficial - if not CRITICAL - for the survival and dominance of the Blu-Ray medium.

VirtualGamer3561d ago

Proper context. When deciding to upgrade to HD there are 3 things to consider, in the following order.

1. Display - Do you have a 1080p capable tv?

2. Format - Which format do you choose to support,HD-DVD or Blu-Ray? Again which one has the most movies for you to choose from?

3. Player - What make and model to buy? Again this has to support what format you have choosen to support and consumers are not only just concerned with price they also look at quality. Especially the early adopters to new technology that tend to not mind spending more for quality.

I agree that the numbers for HD-DVD and Blu-ray are very small compared to DVD. Then again the number of people who own 1080p tvs are a small % of consumers. Those are the only ones interested in buying either format at this point, or at least should be. So Wal-Mart offering to sell a HD-DVD player at $300 is not the big saviour many think it will be if its even true. The article questioned if it was even true.

I agree even though its still to early to declare Blu-ray the winner they have made up alot of ground for being late to the party with the greater studio support I don't really see what HD-DVD is going to do to stop the trend. As the article suggested there could be thing that happen to trip up either side. One of them could be Sony deciding to bundle a Blu-Ray player with every purchase of their 1080p tv's. Considering they are the market leader in TV slaes that would be a pretty good move.

ITR3561d ago

I say no outcome until first qtr of 2008.

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