New high-def owners may shake up format war

While Blu-ray has certainly won the opening salvos, new data suggests those new to HD seemed to have a preference for HD DVD.

Much of this switch could have to do with the changing demographic of the HD owner: whereas current owners are generally white and have higher incomes, newer owners will be younger, more ethnically diverse, and less affluent.

This is likely due to the fact that for the first time in many cases, HDTVs are becoming affordable to the everyday consumer. Most manufacturers now offer models well below the $1,000 price point, almost unheard of a year ago.

While a large portion of consumers-- 30 percent -- are still undecided as to the next-generation DVD format they would like to pair with their new HDTV, HD DVD still seems to have a considerable lead.

43 percent chose HD DVD, while only 27 percent chose Blu-ray according to a poll by The Diffusion Group. Like it has been said so many times before, price plays a big part in these decisions.

"The strength of this preference and its correlation to mainstream attributes are notable," analyst Michael Greeson said. "It is TDG's opinion that the format which can best address the needs of mainstream consumers will emerge as the winner of this format war."

The firm is expecting "waves" of adoption among high-def DVD buyers. The current one, comprised of early adopters, is expected to end in early 2008 and favor Blu-ray. The next wave, which the group says should be bigger as well, should favor HD DVD.

Essentially, if TDG is correct, it could signal no end in sight to a format war that appears to be getting increasingly contentious as time goes on.

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