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HD DVD Player Sales Up; but PS3 (Blu-ray) Up Too

On the surface, the U.S. sales figures from the first several days of this current holiday season are looking way up for HD DVD proponents, who captured slightly more than 60 percent of the next-gen player market against Blu-ray Disc in these early days. But as usual, when the number crunchers put aside those standalone figures and add in the number of PlayStation 3 game consoles sold, Blu-ray comes out the clear leader.

Every PS3 unit comes with an internal Blu-ray drive for games, although Blu-ray movies and other Blu-ray titles can also be played on the consoles. Therefore, Hollywood film studios and other content providers are faced again with this perplexing question: How many PS3 owners regularly buy or rent Blu-ray movie and TV titles (not just games). The thinking is that the studios could care less how many next-gen drives are out there in either format, if the owners are not using their studios’ movie content.

A recent online briefing hosted by the NPD Group, a market research firm, featured fresh data from the first full week of the holiday season showing that while HD DVD clearly received the lion’s share of an estimated 57,000 players in both formats sold as standalone players, those numbers did not take into account NPD’s estimate of at least 160,000 PS3 game consoles sold—thus technically adding 160,000 Blu-ray drives to the mix.

But even lumped together, HD DVD and Blu-ray players still are not coming close to the sales numbers for standard DVD players (including progressive scan), which sell for a fraction of the price points of most HD players and accounted for up to 600,000 units sold in the first week of the current holiday season, said NPD Group.

The NPD Group online analysis estimated these units in-home by the end of 2007 in America:

  • 678,000 HD DVD players
  • 461,000 Blu-ray players
  • 2.5 million PS3 game consoles
  • 270,000 Xbox 360 game console HD DVD add-ons