The latest Japanese sales figures for high-definition video recorders show not only the expected domination of Blu-ray, but also the rather surprising fact that next-generation machines already have almost 40 per cent of the market for recorders as a whole.

Data for February paints a clear picture of Blu-ray and Sony domination, with the Tokyo firm accounting for 57.6 per cent of unit sales of high-def recorders. Panasonic came a distant second at 26.9 per cent.

High-def migration

In terms of value to retailers, next-gen recorders rang up 36.8 per cent of sales, although the worth of such a statistic is diluted by the fact that the newest decks typically cost well over twice what a plain vanilla DVD recorder sells for.

More significantly, the number of units shifted made up 20.7 per cent of total sales, a sure sign that consumers are migrating towards HD TV recorders quickly.

Oddly, Toshiba's HD DVD recorders still sold reasonably in February in spite of the company pulling out of their manufacture in the middle of the month.

We just hope the 5 per cent of shoppers who picked up an HD DVD machine last month were clearly told what they were getting into.