Was Warner Brothers hasty in dumping HD DVD? Or was the Sony Blu-ray camp clever in engineering the defection so that it could get out in front of some difficult news. A press release from DisplaySearch reports that sales of Toshiba’s HD DVD models accounted for 64% more of the stand alone devices sold in North America during the first three quarters of 2007. On the other hand, Blu-ray dominated in Japan.
The Japanese sales aren’t all that important, however. The report also indicates that 80% of the high-definition DVD devices sold worldwide in the third quarter of 2007 were sold in North America, indicating that the rest of the world is much slower to take to the new technology. And another interesting finding was that game console hardware accounted for 85% of the device shipments for the first three quarters of 2007.
There are two important take away points from all this. First, HD DVD is selling much better than the Blu-ray camp would have you believe. And second, both formats are fighting over what remains a very small pie that is not growing very quickly. It’s entirely possible that the “winning” side will only gain a phyrric victory, simply earning the right to lose money in a difficult market.
In a related subject, a group of consumers has started an online petition in an attempt to get Warner Brothers to reconsider their decision to abandon HD DVD. If you want to read the petition and add your name, you can find it here. As of this morning, the site reports more than 23,000 signatures, which is an impressive number. Unfortunately, I expect that each petitioner would have to sign the back of a $50 bill and send it directly to Warner Brothers if they are to have any chance of changing the company’s mind.