It's hard to know what to make of the latest statistics on the battle for supremacy between Blu-ray and HD DVD because of the fact that they're from Japan, home of so many of Blu-ray's backers. Nevertheless, the degree to which HD DVD has fallen behind in Japan in sales of the crucial high-end HD TV recorders is stark.

According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, the figures from the week ending 12 November for sales of next-generation machines capable of recording show just 2.8 per cent of them were HD DVD units. The remaining 97.2 per cent were, of course, Blu-ray devices.

Standard DVD still selling

Naturally, the availability of Blu-ray machines plays its part - there are more models available in Japan - but the HD DVD Promotion Group will obviously be worried.

Both formats still have some work to do in the home-recording market as a whole. Considering the older DVD format as well, the two newcomers account for just 19.8 percent of total recorder sales, with plain-vanilla DVD accounting for over 80 per cent.

Although fewer than a quarter of purchases are of next-gen recorders, the corresponding figure was a mere 5 per cent as recently as mid-October, so it can't be long before DVD has to take a back seat, but will HD DVD be joining it?