By Matthew Henry

SYDNEY: Sony today defended the exclusion of PC sales in its Next Generation Tracker report against claims by the HD DVD Consortium that the company exaggerated Blu-ray’s lead in the optical disk format war.

Sony said yesterday that Blu-ray hardware and software holds over 95 per cent market share due largely to sales of the Blu-ray-equipped PlayStation 3 games console, which has sold over 100,000 units in Australia since its launch earlier this year.

Blu-ray movie titles were also said to be streaking ahead of HD DVD.

Counter-claims by the HD DVD Consortium yesterday that PCs with high definition optical drives should have been included in the report were today rejected by Sony.

PC makers including Toshiba, Acer and HP have been ramping up production of entertainment notebook PCs with built-in next-generation optical disc drives, and according to the HD DVD Consortium are achieving greater sales than the PS3.

However, Sony said the aim of the Next Generation Tracker report, from which it drew its market data, was to look at the state of play in the home entertainment sector.

“Results of both Blu-ray and HD DVD high definition hardware sales in the PC market have therefore intentionally been omitted from the Tracker,” said a joint-statement by Sony Australia, Sony Computer Electronics Australia and Sony Pictures Australia.

“The Sony companies strongly believe that the majority of consumers who are buying into a next generation high definition format are being driven by a desire for the ultimate high definition home entertainment experience in the lounge room.”

Sony said the report, which draws on GfK data, was the first of its kind and will be repeated monthly.

The HD DVD Consortium counts Microsoft, Toshiba, Intel and movie studios such as Universal and Paramount in its ranks.

The Consortium admits it is still trailing Blu-ray by a significant margin, placing HD DVD’s year-to-date market share at around 14 per cent.

But Sony also disputed this claims and said averaging sales from January to October 2007 reveals Blu-ray commands 94.4 per cent share and HD-DVD just 5.6 per cent.