HD-DVD Looking over its shoulder at Blu-Ray?

February 3, 2007

Disclaimer: I don’t speak for Microsoft nor work for any group involved in HD-DVD in my below comments. There’s purely my own for right or wrong.

ArsTechnica has an interesting take on the new Nielsen VideoScan data that shows Blu-ray is starting to close the gap. What’s not covered here is the intellectual savvy of many consumers to NOT BUY EITHER DISC and rather rent from Blockbuster or NetFlix, both of which support both formats.

Nielsen VideoScan is the go-to source for the consumer electronics industry when it comes to tracking video sales. The metrics firm tracks sales in nearly every distribution channel from the Internet to big-box retailers and specialty stores. Although hardware sales figures have been easy to come by, the movie studios and distributors have kept actual movie sales figures under wraps, so this is one of the first clear glimpses of what’s going on with next-gen disc sales.

I thought this was a new tracker for Nielsen? They’re the only source as far as I know. At least Ars points out all these numbers should be taken with a grain of salt.

The units sold #s are highly circumspect. HD-DVD units for Xbox are bought for HD-DVD viewing, HD-DVD players are bought for HD-DVD viewing. I’d be interested to see what percentage of PS3 owners are actually using their PS3 for viewing Blu-Ray discs. Just because PS3 ships with a Blu-Ray disc player does not mean the consumer has a) an HDTV or b) a desire to view Blu-ray discs.

I wrote more about the cost/benefit of HD-DVD late last year and recommendations that consumer do not buy discs in either format. Where are the NetFlix and Blockbuster #’s on rentals of both formats? Let’s see the full picture.