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Blu-ray Ownership Barely Beats HD DVD

A new poll from Harris Interactive finds a couple of things that are pretty much to be expected: 1) Americans seem to like HD; 2) we're not overly excited (yet?) about Blu-ray enough to replace our standard DVD libraries.

But a third discovery must give Sony, which is Blu-ray's chief proponent, a reason to pause—namely that rival (and long-deceased) disc competitor HD DVD is far from dead.

While that technology's chief backer, Toshiba, gave up the ghost back in 2008, the new Harris poll of 2,401 adults queried in April finds only about 7 percent currently own a standalone Blu-ray player, while another 9 percent own Blu-ray drives because they have Sony's PlayStation 3 game console. So 16 percent, in all, have the capability to play Blu-ray conten—although apparently not all of them do (judging from Blu-ray movie and game sales figures).

But of those surveyed, a rather sizeable 11 percent currently own a standalone HD DVD player. Tack on another 3 percent who purchased an HD DVD drive for their Xbox 360 game console—and the bottom line is all Blu-ray owners edge out all HD DVD users by a slim 2 percent (16 vs. 14).

True, HD DVD has no future and their players and titles will eventually melt away through normal attrition, but that doesn't appear to be helping Blu-ray too much right now. Only 7 percent of non-Blu-ray owners surveyed by Harris said they were "likely to purchase" a Blu-ray player in the next year. (By the way, that's even 2 percent lower than a year ago.)

At the same time, nearly half (47 percent) of those queried by Harris said they currently own an HD television set—which is a jump of 12 percent over a year ago.