It seems as if the continents are beginning to take sides in the high-definition disc battle: 73pc of high-def movie discs bought in Europe are in the Blu-ray format, according to recent data from Media Control GfK International.
The Blu-ray Disc Association European Promotions Committee claims that Blu-ray sales hit the 21-million mark this month, but of these a mere one million count for actual Blu-ray movies, while the other 20 million are HD video games.
Across the pond, US consumers have snapped up 750,000 HD DVD players either in the form of a stand-alone player or an Xbox 360 add-on drive, according to the HD DVD Promotional Group.
Gaming consoles and movie studios are taking sides too, with the Sony PlayStation 3 firmly in the Blu-ray camp alongside Disney, MGM and Twentieth Century Fox, while Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Universal Studios support the HD DVD format.
Box office success, it seems, will determine how well either of the formats do with Pirates of the Caribbean and Spider-Man 3 on Blu-ray, while other hugely popular movies like Harry Potter are on HD DVD. The lower price point of HD DVD players is also a contributory factor.
In the Eighties, while VHS videotape players were seen to be technologically inferior to their Betamax counterparts, VHS won out in the end, heavily backed by the adult film industry: currently HD DVD is the dominant format used by adult film makers.
Although initially on the side of Blu-ray Samsung is now playing it safe with a dual HD disc player for the undecided.
By Marie Boran
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