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.