The HD DVD Promotion Group today announced that Toshiba has taken a leading share of the European market for standalone high-definition movie players. The statistics are supplied by independent pan-European research firm GfK .
Following a strong period of sales and what the group says is "momentum for the format", HD DVD's share of the market averaged 74 per cent over the first five months of 2007. HD DVD's standalone player market share from the beginning of 2006 to end May 2007 averaged 71 per cent, demonstrating a consistent (but not high) level of European sales.
If the HD DVD Group is to be believed, the Blu-ray folks are nowhere to be seen in terms of sales. But as is often the case in situations such as these, this is not the end of the story. Crucially, the figures do not count sales of the Blu-ray equipped (PS3) games console. And that makes all the difference.
The HD DVD Group is only supplying sales information as percentages, without giving us any hard sales figures. And that's because total European HD DVD player sales are still rooted firmly under a million. The PS3 on the other hand has sold over a million units in Europe. Standalone Blu-ray players have complimented those numbers.
HD DVD beating Blu-ray?
So you can see why the HD DVD Group is crowing about sales without including the PS3 in the mix. Incidentally, the figures do include sales of the external HD DVD drive for the Microsoft Xbox 360.
"European consumers recognise that HD DVD delivers the most engaging titles and experiences as well as outstanding video and sound quality. Benefits such as picture in picture for video commentaries and in-movie bonuses; bookmarking of favourite scenes and now, access to extra web-based content are all unique to HD DVD," said Eddie Cunningham, chairman of the European HD DVD Promotional Group.
"Also, unlike other HD formats, every player ever produced gives the consumer the same consistent HD performance and experience. These are compelling reasons why increasing numbers of European movie watchers are embracing high definition through HD DVD."
Steve Nickerson, senior vice president of high definition video at Warner Bros added: "These figures are especially important because the standalone player market is by far the biggest driver of movie sales in the long-term.
"This is simply because those who buy a standalone player are interested solely in buying and watching movies and other video content, whereas those with HD drives built into games consoles are primarily interested in games."