HD DVD chairman disses PlayStation 3 effect

HD DVD buyers are more passionate and enthusiastic about their chosen format it seems, with the HD DVD Promotion Group citing an attach rate of 7 to 1 in Europe compared to its Blu-ray rival. The HD DVD promotion group also dismissed the effect of Sony's PlayStation 3 games console saying the "jury's still out" on whether gamers actually buy Blu-ray movies to go with their new machines.

Talking during an IFA 2007 press conference held with Toshiba, Ken Graffeo - vice president for marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment and co-chairman of the HD DVD Promotion Group - said:

"The high def format is about standalone players, not games machines. And the truth is that the jury is still out on whether gamers actually will buy movies in favour of games. We don't think so. And the number of movies sold for PS3 seems to confirm this.

"According to the latest numbers from GFK, for every two PS3s only one Blu-ray movie is sold, which is in strong contrast to HD DVD where four movies are bought for every player."

HD DVD is better than Blu-ray

The HD DVD format is also the most affordable of the two HD formats, Graffeo said. "HD DVD players are half the cost of Blu-ray players. HD DVD also has a software attach rate of 4 discs per player, which is 7x that of Blu-ray."

Graffeo said that the HD DVD format was superior to Blu-ray because it took the HD experience to the next level in terms of interactive features. He cited several examples that took advantage of HD DVD's mandatory features, which include network connectivity. The UK release of HD DVD-exclusive releases of Heroes, for example, will include games, quizzes and online fan forums.

"Sadly that's not the case for Blu-ray," Graffeo said. "Many Blu-ray owners will only get advanced features if they buy the next-generation players with BD-Java. And there's still no sign of those players arriving soon.

"With HD DVD we're only scratching the surface of what's possible," Graffeo said. "The studios and directors are looking at how they shoot movies today with an eye towards what interactive features they'll offer on the HD version."

90 new titles, more studio support

Graffeo also said that the HD DVD format now has the support of 75 per cent of European independent film studios. He said that 90 additional titles will be released in Europe this year, with 400 in all by the end of 2007. Projected releases include all five Harry Potter films, the Bourne trilogy, Shrek The Third, Blade Runner, Transformers and "the almighty Ocean's 11, 12 and 13".

HD DVD already accounts for 70 per cent of current standalone players sales [in Europe], Graffeo said. However for it to become truly mass market it would have to also become more affordable, and that's exactly what he went on to reveal:

"The number one barrier cited by many consumers around the purchase of high-definition media players is not the format battle. It's price. By the end of this year consumers will be able to buy a standalone Venturer branded HD DVD player from just 300 euros or less.

"What this represents is a truly affordable and attractive price for a next generation player and it makes HD DVD the true mass market format. And we're thrilled to look and see how this has happened in such a record time. It took more than four years to achieve comparable pricing for DVD in Europe.

"So we have nearly 90 new European titles coming this year. We have the most advanced personalised experiences. And we've made it affordable to the 20 million European consumers who have HDTVs. Small wonder then that we're feeling very confident about what the future holds for HD DVD. The bottom line is that HD DVD is the only high def format that provides the most consistent high definition experience in Europe."