Lies, damned lies, and statistics. It's said that statistics can say whatever you want them to, but regardless the HD DVD promotional group is happily waving the latest HD player sales figures at anyone who'll listen.
GfK, an independent research group, has announced that HD DVD's share of the standalone player market averaged 71% over the first five months of 2007.
Looking at the figures from January 2006 to the end of May 2007, HD DVD held a similar 71% share in the standalone HD player market (though how many people bough HD players in 2006 is certainly open for debate). Also featured are numbers for the Toshiba HD-E1, which saw that particular HD player enjoy a 72% surge in sales in what was clearly a merry month of May for the HD DVD group.
Remember, these are figures for standalone high definition players only, so the PlayStation3 isn't included. And this, unsurprisingly, is quite right according to the HD DVD group, who clearly wouldn't want the PS3's, albeit sluggish, sales, impacting on these particular figures.
As Steve Nickerson, senior vice president of HD Media at Warner Bros., said: "These figures are especially important because the standalone player market is by far the biggest driver of movie sales in the long-term. 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."
A sweeping generalisation perhaps, but even so, this does at least get to the crux of the current head-to-head in the format wars – will the PS3 sweep Blu-ray to success? Not as yet, it seems.
One last thing: software. And there's good news, or at least good news promised. Over to Olivier Van Wynendaele, Toshiba spokesman for the HD DVD promo group: "There are already over 130 titles [available] and by the end of this year there will be 300 unique discs on HD DVD. This is included in the 1,000 HD DVD titles that will be available worldwide by the end of 2007." Well, that's good news.
So? A small but telling victory for HD DVD over the first half of this year, or merely a PR puff piece covering up the cracks of HD DVD's impending domination? Let us know what you think by posting a comment or voicing your opinions on the forums.