Harris Poll: More Americans own HD DVD consoles than Blu-ray

No, this isn't an accidentally posted Betanews article from back when we had a capital "N." The findings of a recent Harris Interactive poll released yesterday, whose major headline was to demonstrate the lack of recent consumer uptake for Blu-ray players more than one year after the high-definition format war ended, says that among 2,401 Americans polled last April, 11% own an HD DVD player console. But just 7% own a Blu-ray player console.

Could the pollsters be counting Xbox 360 as "an HD DVD player," or "HD DVD-capable," as some did during the format war's heyday? Apparently not. Some 9% of respondents own a Sony PlayStation 3, all of which are Blu-ray capable. Thus, 9% of citizens polled own Blu-ray players of some sort, whether or not they use them as Blu-ray players -- a gain of 4% over last year. Meanwhile, 3% of those polled own an Xbox 360, which Harris says "plays HD DVDs" even though the drive for doing so was well-known to have been an optional attachment.

By that logic, Harris could publish a brief stating the PS3 is 300% the success of the Xbox 360, which we all know not to be accurate.

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Harris goes on to say sales of HD DVD and Blu-ray players have risen in the twelve-month period from April 2008, by the same margins -- both by 3%. But these "sales" are apparently among those whom Harris polled, not a figure reflecting nationwide sales figures.

The pollster does some intriguing numbers: An estimated 374 people turned up in Harris' poll own Blu-ray players, and 216 own PS3s. We do not know how many of these own both. But among the pool of Blu-ray capable respondents, only one-fourth plan to move their entire movie libraries to Blu-ray. One-third have already done so. The remainder -- people who already own Blu-ray capable equipment -- are reluctant to buy new Blu-ray movies today until their prices come down.

Harris apparently did not ask HD DVD owners about their reluctance to purchase HD DVD discs, though we can blindly throw a dart toward to what that outcome might have been and probably be spot on.

Assuming these numbers hold up, Harris VP Milton Ellis says the reason for consumers' continued reluctance to own Blu-ray may come from the alternatives, which in many cases are already here, and which may extinguish their need or want for discs. "In the near future, access to high definition movies may be a download or streaming delivery of one's favorite movies to a home media server that eliminates the need for a Blu-ray player and Blu-ray Disc," Ellis stated yesterday. "One thing is for sure, the market will be highly competitive and consumers will have a wide variety of choices for their entertainment experience."

If there's anything for sure to come out of this whole report, it's that one thing is for sure, and perhaps only that one thing.

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