HD Disc Sales On The Rise

The PR machines for both competing HD formats are relentless. And I have to admit that the impetus for this story was the Blu-ray Disc Association's recent announcement that Blu-ray beat its rival by getting to one million discs sold to consumers first. But what's more fascinating to me is that the HD DVD isn't far behind, in spite of the fact that consumers are allegedly staying away from both formats in droves because of the format war.

According to numbers being bandied about in the last couple of weeks, since its inception over 1.2-million Blu-ray Discs have been sold to consumers, with HD DVD only a bit behind at over 900K discs sold. Now, I know that this is perhaps even more impressive on Blu-ray's part since it can be claimed that the format didn't really launch until november when the PS3 was released, while HD DVD has been rolling since last April. But to me, what's more amazing by far is that what this shows is that consumers are buying HD in general.

If you've read the coverage of the format war by the mainstream press you've been inundated with pieces about how "expensive" the players are (even though Toshiba's HD DVD players have consistently been prices at just a little more than a high-end iPod), how the improved picture and sound won't be discernible unless you own a 100-inch HDTV, and how people should stay away from the whole mess until the format war is settled. Apparently, there are a fair number of people who aren't listening.

And there are other signs that consumers care more about HD on a disc than the mainstream press thinks they should. Toshiba recently announced that it's sold over 100,000 standalone HD DVD player to consumers, and rumors are that two or three times that many HD DVD add-on drives have been sold to Xbox 360 owners. Sony's Casino Royale Blu-ray Disc sold cracked Amazon's DVD top ten, and went on to sell over 100,000 copies, reaching that milestone faster after inception than DVD.

Of course, the number of PS3s in the world are now over two million, and growing and Sony has a $600 standalone player coming this summer and has said publicly that it will have a $300 BD player in stores for this holiday shopping season. In addition., Toshiba has HD DVD players at the $400 and $500 price points, and we'll allegedly see Chinese players later this year at prices below $300. In addition, LG has already released on combi player, and it's rumored that it will release another before the year is out. Samsung is following suit with its own combi player later in the year, and Warner will be releasing its Total HD discs with Blu-ray and HD DVD on a single disc perhaps as early as this summer.

Maybe HD will not only survive, but thrive in this multi-format environment.