Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Toshiba, PS3 Lead High-Def DVD Race

According to DisplaySearch, Toshiba led the pack in standalone high-definition format DVD players for the first three quarters of 2007, accounting for 64% more units than all of the Blu-ray manufacturers combined! The research company attributes this to aggressive pricing and promotions, and I'd have to agree: a $99 high-definition DVD player is indeed pretty aggressive! But really, what does this mean? Despite the favourable numbers, the HD DVD format is still dealing with the recent blow from Warner, which decided to exclusively join the Blu-ray camp.

Interestingly, though, DiplaySearch also reports that gaming console hardware, not standalone players, were the dominant shipped high-definition DVD product through most of 2007, accounting for 85% of all global shipments between Q1 and Q3 2007. What's more, revenue growth was more than three times that of standalone players between Q2 and Q3 of last year.

In the case of Blu-ray, it's safe to assume that the majority of PlayStation 3 purchasers bought the console to play games, with high-def movie watching as simply an added bonus (the PS3 has a built-in Blu-ray player. To achieve HD DVD playback on an Xbox 360, one requires a separately purchased player that connects to the console). Nevertheless, sales of the PS3 helped skyrocket Sony into the number-one spot worldwide for Blu-ray players, with the firm having achieved a whopping 97% share in the first three quarters of '07!

Overall, North America accounted for 80% of the worldwide market for high-def DVD hardware in Q3 2007. Worldwide, Sony, Toshiba, and Microsoft made up 98% of high-definition DVD hardware shipments, leaving all the others to fight for that remaining 2%.

Paul Erickson, Director of DVD and HD Market Research at DisplaySearch reinforced a point I've made in earlier blog posts: that the two competing formats (Blu-ray and HD DVD) not only have to compete against each other, but also against the "standard" DVD format, which many consumers are still quite content to enjoy.

"Due to consumer price sensitivity and satisfaction with regular DVD in North America," he said, "the substantial growth needed for next-generation DVD to grow beyond a niche market dominated by consoles will require time, persistence, and aggressive pricing. This is expected to be a dynamic that will persist regardless of whether the market consolidates around a single format, or continues onward with the status quo."

I couldn't have said it better myself. Let's focus on ways to make the players and, even more important, the software titles, more affordable; and added-value features more enticing...not just from one format versus the other, but in relation to the standard DVD experience.


Anonymous said...

I'm sorry but Toshiba selling more HD players than anyone else last year is totally irrelevant to whats going on now. The fact is they didnt sell anywhere near enough. In Japan in the last 3 months of 2007 over 90% of all HD players sold were BluRay (not including the PS3) and since the Warner defection in the US BluRay has streaked ahead of HD-DVD in standalone player sales. The week before the warner defection sales of HD players were split 50/50, the week after BluRay standalone players outsold HD-DVD ones by a ratio of over 13:1.

When you remember that the cheapest HD-DVD player is less than half the price of the cheapest BluRay one that just proves how dead HD-DVD is.

Roger said...

Finally after all these years it looks as though "Beta" will win....