Blu-ray titles outsold rival HD-DVD titles by almost 2-to-1 in the first nine months of the year, but analysts expect that HD DVD to regain the market share in the fourth quarter.
Home Media Research said on Tuesday total U.S. sales of Blu-ray discs, using a Sony-backed technology, totaled 2.6 million units from January 1 through Sept 30, versus 1.4 million HD-DVD discs sold.
Research also shows that eight of the 10 top-selling high-definition titles in the first quarter of this year were on Blu-ray Disc. At the top of the list is Sony Pictures Home Entertainment?s Casino Royale, which, in the first three months ended March 31, sold through to consumers an estimated 59,680 units. The Blu-ray Disc edition of The Departed finished second, while the HD DVD version of the film placed third.
The division in Hollywood grew deeper in August when Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc signed exclusivity deals to distribute their next-generation discs on HD-DVD format for the next 18 months.
Analysts believe newly released HD-DVD titles with new advanced Web-enabled features, such as Paramount's "Transformers," will help the HD-DVD camp in the fourth quarter.
Paramount Home Entertainment said that "Transformers" had the biggest debut of any high-definition titles, selling over 100,000 HD-DVDs on Oct 16, its first day of release.
Tom Adams, president of Adams Media Research, predicts that for 2007 overall, consumers will spend $186 million purchasing Blu-ray discs, versus $91 million for
Walt Disney, Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Lions Gate Entertainment are exclusively in the Blu-ray camp.
For sure, the dust is expected to start to settle next year. But until then both camps are expected to race in the market arena. The standards battle is also expected to lead more consumers to dual DVD players such as those made by LG Electronics, which supports both Blu-ray and HD-DVD.
Samsung is expected to market a dual format player later this year, ahead of the holiday shopping season. The Korean company has also cut $50 from the $549 price of the BD-P1400, which features 1080p resolution.