Hollywood kills HD DVD

29 Jan 2008

Just one week after Warner Brothers Entertainment said it would drop HD DVD and release all future movies in Blu-ray format only from May onwards, sales figures show that consumers are moving rapidly in the same direction.

While the market for sales of both high-def players remained more or less evenly divided throughout 2007, the week ended 12 January saw Blu-ray capturing 92.53pc of the consumer market, according to market research firm, NPD Group.

A look at sales in the week leading up to Warner’s announcement showed that 48.83pc of the high-def hardware market share was taken by HD DVD, in stark contrast to the 7.47pc share it was left with a week later when Warner had dropped its bombshell.

As reported in The New York Times, NPD Group’s vice-president for industry analysis, Stephen Baker, said that these sales results were what they were, one week and not a trend.

However, there is more bad news for HD DVD: UK retail chain Woolworths, one of the country’s biggest sellers of high-definition discs, said today that it was going to stop stocking HD DVD discs, claiming that in the last month they were outsold ten-to-one by Blu-ray.

Meanwhile, one of Ireland’s biggest movie rental chains Xtravision doesn’t plan to stop stocking HD DVD because it has in fact never stocked it, like its owner Blockbuster Inc, which is in turn owned by Viacom.

As it stands, Paramount and Universal are the only supporters left in the HD DVD camp, while Sony, MGM, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista and from May, Warner Brothers, all go exclusively Blu-ray.

From the hardware perspective, Toshiba and Microsoft’s Xbox 360 have HD DVD players, while Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Philips, LG, Hitachi, Sharp, JVC and Pioneer all support Blu-ray.

By Marie Boran