PS3 helps Blu-ray claim victory in HD format war

By James Wells in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS: By meeting its target of shipping one million PlayStation3 consoles by the end of 2006, Sony may have delivered the killer blow to the HD DVD format which has registered sales in the US market of just 60,000 pieces since launch.

The Blu-ray Disc Association claimed it was victorious in the format war, at its press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week, by referring to itself as the “premiere high definition DVD format of choice”.

“Debuted to the U.S. market in June 2006, over 25 companies have released Blu-ray Disc products to date, including players, recorders, high-definition computer drives, recordable media, PC applications, and announced almost 170 movie and music titles,” the association said.

“Driving demand for high definition content, more than one million Sony PlayStation 3 (PS3) units, each featuring a Blu-ray Disc drive, were shipped to the United States in 2006, from launch through the end of the year, as reported by Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA). 

"Demand for PS3 has been extremely high, and according to a recent SCEA survey of over 10,000 PS3 owners, 80 per cent indicated they will buy Blu-ray movies and 75 per cent said they use the PS3 as a primary device for viewing movies.”

According to the chairperson of the Blu-ray Disc Association US promotions committee, Andy Parsons, the success of Blu-ray Disc is unprecedented.

“With unmatched cross-industry support, including seven of the eight major Hollywood studios and the two biggest players in the music industry, consumers have voted with their wallets for the format that offers the widest array of hardware and content on the market. The road ahead in 2007 looks even brighter as we introduce Blu-ray Disc to Europe and as even more consumers migrate to HDTVs,” Parsons said.

Understanding & Solutions, Ltd., a leading market analyst project says it will continually increase market share for Blu-ray Disc, beginning in 2007. It predicts that by 2010 virtually all HD optical disc hardware sold will be of the Blu-ray format, with all but the smallest fraction of movie content available on Blu-ray only.

The association boasts that the Blu-ray Disc format provides consumers and content providers with a single common format that has the capacity, image and audio quality, interactivity and connectivity needed to expand beyond the simple movie playback and into a range of interoperable consumer products and applications that have brought a new dimension to home entertainment.

At this year’s CES, new Blu-ray Disc hardware was released by many of the supporting companies. Pioneer confirmed it will launch the BDC-202 BD-ROM computer drive; Samsung Electronics will launch its second-generation Blu-ray Disc player – the BD-P1200; and Sony said it will launch its VAIO XL3 Digital Living System. This will be supported by movie releases from seven of the eight major movie studios supporting the format.

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