By James Wells in Berlin

BERLIN: The HD DVD Promotion Group has released statistics that show it is attaching seven times more software than Blu-ray and holds 70 per cent of the IT and standalone high definition player market in Europe.

Speaking at IFA 2007, HD DVD Promotion Group co-chairman, Ken Graffeo, who is also Universal Studios Home Entertainment vice president for marketing, said that his format is selling seven times as many software titles per hardware unit than the Blu-Ray Disc format, which has been accused of distorting sales since the Sony PlayStation3 is not a ‘standalone player’ and should be categorised as a games console not a Blu-ray Disc player.

The statistics used to confirm that HD DVD is selling seven times the number of software pieces per hardware device compared to Blu-ray are complex.

Graffeo claims that European GfK data suggests that only one Blu-ray movie is sold for every two Sony PlayStation3 consoles – the major hardware device which plays Blu-ray media. Meanwhile, Graffeo claims consumers who purchase an HD DVD device, purchase four software titles.

"The high def format is about standalone players, not games machines. And the truth is that the jury is still out on whether gamers actually will buy movies in favour of games. We don’t think so. And the number of movies sold for PS3 seems to confirm this,” Graffeo said.

HD DVD claims it represents 70 per cent of current standalone player sales in Europe and 70 per cent of the high definition PC drive market, while Blu-Ray claims it has 70 per cent of next generation high definition disc sales.

Even though just half a Blu-Ray Disc is sold per PlayStation3 purchase, Blu-Ray software has outsold HD DVD software by three to one since the games console was launched in March.

To clarify the actual overall situation between the two formats in Europe however, additional statistics are required.
The Blu-ray camp has estimated that with Sony’s 1.3 million PlayStation3s sold in 2007, this gives them a 94 per cent share of the overall hardware market, leaving just six per cent or 83,000 players for the HD DVD format.

Based on HD DVD’s claims, there should then be half a Blu-Ray disc per PS3 unit or 650,000 software units. This means Blu-ray is twice as strong as HD DVD even when they sell four discs for each of its 83,000 units or 332,000 software units in total.

HD DVD claimed that its players were more affordable and “half the cost of Blu-ray players” and also offered more superior interactive features as well as network connectivity. Graffeo claimed that features that will be available in the upcoming HD DVD release of Heroes such as trivia, online forums and games will only be available in next generation Blu-ray players with Java applications.

Graffeo said the HD DVD format has the support of 75 per cent of European independent film studios who will release an additional 90 titles in Europe this year, taking the total to 400 by the end of 2007.

Graffeo claimed that for the 20 million Europeans, HD DVD is the only high definition format to provide the most consistent experience for consumers.

To compete more aggressively with Blu-ray, HD DVD has announced a standalone player will be released for under €300 ($AU495) by Christmas from Canadian company Venturer.