Is Blu-Ray dead in the European water?

Independent pan-European research by GfK has today revealed that Blu-Ray may not be winning the high definition race after all, despite much brouhaha. In fact, according to the report on the state of the standalone high definition player market in Europe, HD DVD averaged a market share of 74 percent between January and May 2007. The figures also show that Toshiba is dominating this particular market, and it is a big market to dominate. In Europe alone there are already more than 130 HD DVD titles available, expected to rise to 300 by the end of the year. Worldwide, the total title target (try saying that while eating toast) will hit 1000 unique discs by year end.

"HD DVD players not only offer all the picture and audio benefits of other HD formats, they are also the most affordable and feature-rich players on the market today. This latest research reflects the fact that there is an ever-increasing number of Hollywood and European software titles available on the format today, which is driving further demand for players" Olivier Van Wynendaele, Toshiba Spokesperson for the European HD DVD Promotion Group told DaniWeb. "These figures are especially important because the standalone player market is by far the biggest driver of movie sales in the long-term" added Steve Nickerson, Senior Vice President, High Definition Media at Warner Bros. "This is simply because those who buy a standalone player are interested solely in buying and watching movies and other video content, whereas those with HD drives built into games consoles are primarily interested in games."

It is too soon to say if these figures, which were released to the press by the European HD DVD Promotion Group so could be filed under 'well they would say that', prove that Blu-Ray is dead in the water as far as the European consumer is concerned. But it must come as a warning shot across the bows of Sony and bring back nightmares in Betamax vision once again.

About the Author

I live and breathe technology news, it is what turns me on. Sad, but hey I am a news nerd, what can I say? I live and work in England, where I have been reporting IT news for far more years than I care to remember.

Looking at just standalone players is a little simplistic when it comes to drawing battle lines and predicting winners. You need to consider the built-in hardware side of things for both computers and games consoles as well.

Not that this changes the overall picture of Blu-ray getting something of a kicking in the HD player stakes of course.

"the state of the standalone high definition player market in Europe,"

I didn't know there was such a market in Europe.
Sure the devices are available but I've not heard of anyone actually purchasing one (either HDDVD or BluRay).
Everyone is pretty much waiting to see who will be the winner as well as for prices to come down.
When you can get a regular DVD player that can play the movies you ripped from some P2P stream for €50, why pay €500+ for a fancy new tech thing that might be overtaken by events as the competing tech wins in a year or so (and will certainly come down in price a lot even if it does win)?

Same for built-in players in computers. Hardly anyone cares about which if any of the techs is installed in their systems.
They don't have the discs and aren't going to invest in them anyway until the dust settles, and by that time they're probably replacing that PC anyway.

For example a friend bought a new laptop that has such a player.
He didn't notice it in the brochure, and even after several months can't remember whether it's BluRay or HDDVD.
And that's an uebergeek, over a dozen computers around the place, had his house wired for a personal LAN a decade ago when many companies had never heard of networks, runs his own software and consulting company, etc.
But his attitude towards the entire high def DVD game is similar to that of most people, he couldn't care less.

Although i've met the rep's for both, and had various training with the two units, the Samsung Blu-Ray player can't compete with the Toshiba HD DVD. Its main selling point though would be Vs the Playstation 3, especially for all those die-hard eco warriors. To play a standard Blu-Ray DVD the ps3 needs about 371 watts of power (according to samsung, that's the same as leaving a 3kw kettle on for 6 minutes) whereas the Samsung Blu-Ray player only needs 71 watts to play the same DVD. It won't do much to hide the fact that the sales in Blu-Ray are ever decreasing and there's a lot at stack here, no product could get this far without serious investment.

Dazza :cool:

i do not think that we even have HD DVD here in australia. Never seen the players never seen the movies they come on. However i have seen plenty of blue ray coming out and as far as i can tell they seem to be selling quite well mainly however because of the PS3. Personally i would not buy either formats players as a stand alone i think it would be a waste of money as i use my play staition as my DVD player i would much rather spend the money from a blu ray player on that. Then i get a gaming console and the player for around the same price.

Personally i think unless HD DVD gets released in australia soon then it might as well never be with the rate Blu ray is going here.