Just as a breakthrough seemed to arrive in the shape of LG’s dual format HD player it appears Sony’s media is making a comeback.
According to US sell-through video sales tracker Nielsen VideoScan Blu-ray – the more derided of the two next generation media – has actually taken a significant sales lead in the opening weeks of 2007.
Exact figures quote HD DVD retail sales by the end of the first week of January as 47.14 per cent of Blu-ray’s. This then declines remarkably to just 38.36 per cent by the end of the second week. Even worse for Toshiba, Neilsen says by 14 January Blu-ray retail sales were 92.4 per cent of HD DVDs. The tracker claims at this rate total Blu-ray sales will soon overtake total HD DVD sales despite the format coming to market many months later.
Naturally, there is a major reason for this upturn: the launch of the PlayStation 3. After all, while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 does offer an HD DVD drive as an add-on, it is not necessary to play any of the console’s games and the Nintendo Wii bypasses both formats in favour of plain old DVDs. By contrast, PS3 owners have no choice but to snap up the media.
Now whether the console world will settle a media battle which rages more heavily in television land (especially when HD DVD players remain nearly half the price of their Blu-ray equivalents) is a matter I’m sure Toshiba would be keen to debate.
That said, if round one clearly went to Tosh then round two – courtesy of the PS3 – looks to be headed Sony’s way…