updated 01:30 pm EDT, Thu July 12, 2007
HD DVD in Europe
HD DVD is outpacing its Blu-Ray rival in Europe in hardware sales by a factor of three to one, according to a study published by the disc format's promo group in the region. The agency drew on sales figures which suggest that the format has nearly three quarters of the market in some of the most influential countries in the area, including France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and the UK. Spokesman Olivier Van Wynendaele for the group alleged that the success had been achieved fairly and that profit on HD DVD players in Europe was the same as for its regular DVD players, dismissing US worries that Toshiba was winning by slashing prices to where it makes little to no profit.
However, the marketers have for a second time omitted figures for Sony's PlayStation 3, which Toshiba has previously said didn't count as it was officially a game system. The console includes a Blu-Ray drive that can play movies with full features and has been widely attributed as a significant factor in spurring sales of Blu-Ray titles, though the number of movies attached to each PS3 is currently unknown.
Regardless of exact figures, however, Warner Bros. representative Steve Nickerson told reporters that much of the competition was relatively insignificant until prices for players and movies were low enough that they could be considered straightforward replacements for regular DVDs. His colleague at the Promotional Group noted that 70 percent of buyers were likely to pick up a format once the player dipped to $200 or less, a claim that sat well with Nickerson.
"It took nearly four years for that [$200] price point to be achieved in DVD," he said. "Anything inside three years would be significantly improved compared to the DVD."