Toshiba has lowered sales targets for its high-definition HD DVD range after it sold less players and recorders than it expected to in the United States. The Japanese giant says it now expects to sell around one million HD DVD players before the end of 2007.

These renewed figures are down 44 per cent from the original 1.8 million unit sales target.

The HD market is being stifled somewhat by consumer uncertainty over which HD format to plump for. Blu-ray and HD DVD are both vying to become the standard next-generation optical disc format.

"Obviously we are going to have to lower our previous global estimate," said Yoshihide Fujii, head of Toshiba's digital consumer arm.

HD DVD selling more than Blu-ray

The news comes the day after the HD DVD Promotional Group announced that it is selling 20 per cent more players than the Blu-ray Disc Association . Without including the Blu-ray equipped PS3 into the equation, HD DVD players now make up 60 per cent of all HD player sales.

"Consumers who are buying a PlayStation 3 are buying it as a game console. They're simply not buying it for watching as many high-definition movies as Sony said they would," said Ken Graffeo at Universal Studios. He was speaking at a news conference announcing the release of Toshiba's Vardia-brand HD DVD players in Japan.

So despite being the major force behind a format which is selling 20 per cent more units than Blu-ray, Toshiba is still selling nowhere near enough units to make any real progress in the market.