Sony and Toshiba play tug of war on who owns most of HD market

In the high-definition optical format race, it’s been commonly observed that Blu-ray Disc software outsell HD DVD by two-to-one margin. In terms of hardware, however, HD DVD’s lower price point is believed the help drive greater standalone sales. To explain for this disparity, some believe it is the Sony PlayStation 3’s Blu-ray Disc playing capabilities that is driving software sales, even though HD DVD leads the player market.

At a CEDIA press conference on Wednesday, Sony cited NPD Group research data showing that standalone Blu-ray Disc players accounting for more than half of all high-definition players sold. Blu-ray Disc set-top players within the last 9 weeks have begun out-selling HD DVD set-top players on a unit basis, reports Video Business.

Upon hearing Sony’s comments, Toshiba, HD DVD’s main supplier of hardware, issued a statement refuting claims that Blu-ray players had taken over the lead. The statement, as published by High-Def Digest, reads as follows:

“In light of recent comments made regarding high definition stand-alone video players sales, Toshiba would like to reiterate its continued industry leading sales figures. Based on July data from NPD, Toshiba had a 55% market share year to date in high definition stand alone player sales followed by all Blu-ray companies at a combined 42%; the final 3 percent is held by dual format players.

While the competition may claim leadership based on one month of data, Toshiba has had continued sales leadership in every month since the original HD DVD players launched 17 months ago.

Toshiba is and continues to be a top seller at retailers such as Amazon, most recently reaching #1 on the site last week. As third generation players begin to come to market at the end of this month, Toshiba has full confidence that it will continue its momentum and lead in player sales.”

Amazon recently ran a promotion for both HD DVD and Blu-ray players, offering up to eight free movies with the purchase of hardware.

Sony credits it hardware sales surge to the $499 price point of its entry-level BDP-S300 player. Sony also announced this week two new Blu-ray players that will occupy the upper range of its product line.

Toshiba will also be rolling out new hardware this fall with a trio of machines ranging from $299 to $499.

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