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Blu-ray Declares Victory in Format War

by Paul Strauss
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This is starting to sound like the early days of the war in Iraq… Apparently, while we were off living our lives, Blu-ray became the “overwhelming” victor in the high definition format wars.

Blu-ray Declares Victory

Here are some excerpts from today’s overly self-congratulatory press release from the Blu-ray Disc Association, titled Consumers Overwhelmingly Choose “Blu”:

The Blu-ray Disc Association today declared its victory as the premiere high definition DVD format of choice… The success of Blu-ray Disc is unprecedented… consumers have voted with their wallets for the format that offers the widest array of hardware and content on the market.

Apparently, the fact that Sony shipped over 1 million Playstation 3 consoles means victory in their minds. Now first off, how many of those PS3s are getting used to play movies? According to the Blu-ray folks, plenty:

Driving demand for high definition content, more than one million Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) units, each featuring a Blu-ray Disc drive, were shipped to the United States in 2006, …according to a recent SCEA survey of over 10,000 PS3 owners, 80 percent indicated they will buy Blu-ray movies and 75 percent said they use the PS3 as a primary device for viewing movies.

While Sony may have sampled about 10,000 PS3 owners, you have to wonder how many of those 1 million PS3s are still floating around, looking for an owner. I’m sure that Blu-ray has increased its presence now that the PS3 is out, but to declare a unanimous victory over HD DVD is a little silly this early in the game. Perhaps somebody told the folks at the Blu-ray Disc Asssociation that if you say something enough times, it eventually becomes true.

Frankly, I wouldn’t count either format down and out for a long time. While HD DVD sales figures are hard to come by, there are likely hundreds of thousands of HD DVD players out there as well. With over 10 million Xbox 360s able to add on a player for just $200, and computer add-on HD DVD drives running as little as $100, HD DVD still has a clear price advantage over Blu-ray.

Bottom line, only time will tell who’s victorious, or if both formats will ultimately become irrelevant with combination players on the market, such as the one just announced by LG this week.

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