While the real winner is yet to be decided, Blu-ray is the leader according to new reports

Home Media Magazine's research branch, Home Media Research, announced that the between January 1 and September 30 Blu-ray sold 2.6 million units versus a total sales of 1.4 million HD DVD discs.

This announcement, which indicates an almost 2 to 1 ratio of Blu-ray sales to HD DVD, was a bit of a killjoy for the HD DVD camp who were thrilled by the record setting success of Transformers on HD DVD, chronicled here at DailyTech.

Through September, a total of 3.01 million Blu-ray discs have been sold and 1.97 million HD DVDs have been sold according to Home Media Research.

HD DVD is the next generation hi-definition format developed by Toshiba Corp.  The format is also supported by Microsoft, whose Xbox 360 console has an expansion which allows it to play HD DVDs.  HD DVD also has the support of Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc -- the latter two of which have signed deals to exclusively provide HD DVD for the next 18 months.

Blu-ray is owned and developed by Sony Corp.  It has exclusivity contracts with Walt Disney Co, Sony, News Corp's 20th Century Fox, and Lions Gate Entertainment.  It also recently signed an exclusive distribution deal with Blockbuster.

Blu-ray sales have been buoyed by the PS3's built in Blu-ray support.  HD DVD sales have been driven by better add-ons and interactive content, among other things.

Market research firm Adams Media Research provided insight into HD DVD's outlook following this less-than-great announcement for HD DVD.  The firm said strong sales from Transformers and other exclusive titles, stemming from its new Paramount and DreamWorks exclusivity pacts should invigorate sales and cause HD DVD to finish the year strong.

Tom Adams, the firm's president had this to say, "The [new exclusivity deals] definitely smooth out the edge that Blu-ray had in exclusive titles and they very much strengthen HD DVD's hand in the fourth quarter."

However, Adams Media Research is still predicting Blu-ray market victory for 2007, despite HD DVD's upswing. They predict that consumers will spend $186 million on purchasing Blu-Ray format discs, but only $91 million on HD DVD format discs.

Of course one mystery factor is dual mode players, such as Samsung's new player, releasing this holiday season.  As these players can play both formats, they seemingly make the format war a moot point from the consumer perspective. 

No one can truly say who will win the format war, but at least Blu-ray supporters can be cheered by this victory, following the news of the stunning Transformers HD DVD sales.

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