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Sony accounts for 97% of global BD hardware sales; HD DVD sales slide

Sony’s Blu-ray enabled PS3 game console and Microsoft’s HD DVD Xbox 360 add-on have done more to grow the high definition disc market than any other devices, making up 85 percent of global next-generation DVD shipments during Q1-Q3 ‘07, claims research company DisplaySearch.

According to "Quarterly Global Next Generation DVD and Game Platform Hardware Shipment and Forecast Report," high-definition DVD gaming hardware – PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360's external HD DVD drive – had revenue growth of more than three times that of standalone players from the second to third quarters of 2007.

"Due to consumer price sensitivity and satisfaction with regular DVD the substantial growth needed for Next Generation DVD to grow beyond a niche market dominated by consoles will require time, persistence, and aggressive pricing," says Paul Erickson, director of DVD and HD Market Research at DisplaySearch.

Overall, game console-related hardware made up 85 percent of global next-generation DVD shipments during Q1-Q3 ‘07, with North America accounting for 80 percent of total next-gen DVD shipments (including gaming hardware).

Sony dominated the total Blu-ray market, with 97 percent worldwide share thanks to the PlayStation 3. In terms of standalone players – not including the PS3 – Toshiba HD DVD players accounted for nearly 64 percent more than all available Blu-ray brands combined between Q1 and Q3 '07.

Between Sony, Toshiba and Microsoft, which manufactures the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox 360, these three companies accounted for 98 percent of global next-gen DVD hardware.

"The market for Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD continues to grow, but our research continues to indicate that this market will face challenges not only in capturing mainstream sales, but also in expanding beyond a hardware ecosystem dominated by primarily only three companies," says Erickson. "This is expected to be a dynamic that will persist regardless of whether the market consolidates around a single format, or continues onward with the status quo."

However, this information was compiled before Warner’s announcement to release its film titles only in the Blu-ray format. Since new data from the NPD Group shows that hardware sales for HD DVD have fallen significantly, with Blu-ray hardware building a 93% sales advantage.

According to NPD’s data, consumers bought just 1,758 HD DVD players in the week of 12 January, down from 14,558 players the week before. In contrast, consumers bought 21,770 Blu-ray Disc machines, up from 15,257 the previous week.

However, NPD would not confirm or deny the actual sales figures and labeled them as proprietary. Also, these data were compiled before Toshiba significantly dropped the price of their HD DVD players. that "One week just doesn’t give us enough data points to say something is going on for the long term. It only tells me in one week something happened," NPD analyst Steve Baker cautions.

Story filed 28.01.08

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