It’s Blu-ray’s day to make HD DVD pay

By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: The next generation Blu-ray disc format has a stranglehold on the home entertainment market, selling over 21 times more media than HD DVD in the period from last November to the end of last month.

Australians have bought only 200 HD DVD discs in the five months since the format was introduced, according to GfK statistics, which bodes badly for developer Toshiba which is almost alone in manufacturing HD DVD players.

The Blu-ray camp has sold 4300 discs in the same period, with backers Sony, Panasonic and Samsung receiving support from movie houses Sony Pictures, MGM, Walt Disney Pictures, Lions Gate Films, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Paramount.

Warner Brothers and Paramount also release films in the HD DVD format along with Universal Pictures. 

The Blu-ray Disc Association in Australia has gained the support of JB Hi-Fi, which now sells the format exclusively.

JB Hi-Fi marketing director Scott Browning said that Blu-ray players and media will soon take up 10 per cent of the linear space in JB Hi-Fi stores, and likened the high definition disc format war to that of a long distance running race.

“It’s more the middle of the race and the ‘kick’ at the end that says who wins,” said Browning, referring to the support given to the Blu-ray format.

Browning flagged the importance of Blu-ray as a “fundamental breakthrough” for home entertainment manufacturers, and said that Blu-ray disc has added some excitement to the category.

“These guys are usually at each others throats, going behind each others backs, and now they’re banding together to support Blu-ray technology. Home entertainment has really become home excitement,” he said.

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