Data from Nielsen indicates that sales of Blu-ray media for the first time has outpaced that of HD DVD; however, as expected, both camps in the high-definition format war have different ways of interpreting the data.
For the week of February 18, Blu-ray sold 100 units for every 98.71 units of HD DVD. That culminates a several week period where sales of the disc format began to catch up to HD DVD after nearly a year of slow sales.
Analysts credit the launch of the PlayStation 3, which includes a Blu-ray drive, as helping to boost sales. The resurgent format also seems to have a five-to-one advantage over HD DVD in actual player sales.
However, this is where supporters of HD DVD step in to defend their own format.
"Given that the life to date title sales ratios are close to 1:1, and given that Blu-ray has a 5:1 ratio right now on the hardware side due to the PS3, it poses an interesting question for the Blu-ray studios of why Blu-ray software sales are not outpacing HD DVD by a similar ratio?" Universal's HD DVD chief Ken Graffeo told BetaNews.
He noted that while sales are now basically even, HD DVD players still sport an attach rate than is five times higher than Blu-ray's. Furthermore, the #1 selling title across either format is Batman Begins, available only on HD DVD. The #2 title Superman Returns, while available in both formats, shows higher sales for HD DVD copies than the Blu-ray version, the HD DVD Promotional Group noted.
Representatives for Sony's Blu-ray format sing a different song, saying that surpassing HD DVD in disc sales was no big surprise. Chief among its newfound dominance, they claim, are the technical superiority of the format, the launch of the PS3, and better availability of titles and players.
It should be noted that so far this year, Blu-ray titles have outpaced HD DVD releases by a 2-to-1 margin.