HD DVD Grows, Blu-ray Shrinks in Q2

Data from several researchers indicate that Blu-ray may be beginning to falter as HD DVD builds momentum thanks to price cuts on its standalone players.

NPD Group and Nielsen/NetRatings reports along with point of sale data indicate that overall HD DVD hardware sales were up 37 percent from the first to second quarter, which is a 183 percent increase in standalone HD DVD players. More than 180,000 players have now been sold.

"The numbers are clear -- HD DVD is steadily gaining momentum and market share," HD DVD Promotional Group co-president Ken Graffeo said in a statement.

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During this same period, software sales have increased 20 percent. According to analysts, there is only about 20-30 title gap between the two formats, which is not as large as many would perceive, and price is a major factor in buying decisions.

A study by CEA in June backs up these claims. HD DVD players now sell for as little as $299 USD, while the cheapest Blu-ray players, standalone or otherwise, are at least $499 USD.

Blu-ray hardware sales fell 27 percent from Q1 to Q2, with software sales also being off by about five percent. Some of Blu-ray's struggles could be attributed to sagging sales of the PS3: Sony banked on brisk sales of the console to help win the next-generation DVD format war.

However, with the price cut on its discontinued 60GB model in the United States, increased sales of Sony's PS3 will probably also have the residual effect of helping to prop-up Blu-ray in the face of stronger competition from HD DVD.

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