Blu-ray Continues To Outpace HD DVD In February
The Video Business piece cited a Universal exec as being dismissive of the idea that the January and February numbers represent consumer trends, citing these numbers as reflecting that during this small period more titles were released on Blu-ray than HD DVD. In coming months the number of releases are reportedly going to even out between the two formats.
But taking a look at Warner's release of The Departed, which was released on both formats, seems to belie this at least somewhat. In its first week of release 20,000 Blu-ray copies of The Departed were sold compared to 13,000 on HD DVD. While this isn't the full two-to-one margin, it would seem an indicator that Blu-ray is trending ahead of HD DVD by a healthy measure.
Another factor, aside from the total quantities of titles released on both formats will be the quality and desirability of the releases, especially from the exclusive studios on each format. While Univeral has the acclaimed Children of Men hitting HD DVD exclusively later this month, Sony is releasing the latest James Bond movie Casino Royale exlusively to Blu-ray this coming week. The coming months will also see the first two Pirates of the Caribbean hitting Blu-ray exclusively just ahead of the theatrical release of the third film in the trilogy, followed by Pixar's HD debut on Blu-ray this summer with Cars. Universal will counter with a strong lineup of catalog titles and it will be interesting to see how they fare against these strong, recent hits from the Blu-ray camp.
And in the midst of these numbers pointing to Blu-ray as coming on strong again is the influence of the PS3. The Video Business article cites "studio sources" as claiming that standalone player sales were equal between Blu-ray and HD DVD in February. The studio execs apparently believe that the PS3 and its million plus penetration in North America is what's tipping the scales toward Blu-ray.