While Blu-ray discs have outsold HD DVD in the last year 2-1, Paramount/Dreamwork’s recent exclusive deal with HD DVD has many experts scratching their heads. Box office hits like “Shrek 3” and “Blades of Glory” will only be available in Toshiba’s HD DVD format for the next 18 months.
The Paramount deal, along with lower cost HD DVD players, are expected to even high definition media sales over the holiday season. When mainstream consumers start exploring the costs of high definition, they will find that an entry level Toshiba HD DVD player costs $299, as compared to the entry level Sony Blu-ray Disc player which retails for $200 more.
But in the battle between the two hi def formats, the Trojan horse still remains. The Playstation 3 could still out-wit, out-battle, and out-sell the rival HD DVD format. Research estimates from Adams Media Research show that 1.5 million Playstation 3 owners have the ability to play Blu-ray Discs on their gaming consoles. Compare that number to the 300,000 households who have the Xbox 360 HD DVD player add-on. Are the PS3 owners taking advantage of this feature? Or are they waiting for the price of Blu-ray Discs to come down? They may be waiting considering the average cost of a Blu-ray Disc is twice the amount of a standard DVD.
When will high definition media become the norm? Who knows. According to Adams Media Research standard definition DVDs (along with the dwindling VHS format) sold 1.66 billion units so far this year. That’s a big number when you compare it to the mere 3.9 million units sold in the high def market.