UPDATE (9/6/08, 6:00PM): Toshiba has issued a statement refuting Sony's claims as reported in the story below. To read Toshiba's full statement, click here.
Although it's the type of news we'd expect to see accompanied by a huge press release, Sony apparently revealed Wednesday that stand-alone Blu-ray players have begun out-selling their HD DVD counterparts.
As reported by Video Business, the revelation came during Sony's CEDIA press conference, when Sony VP Chris Fawcett said that within the last 12 weeks, Blu-ray players had pulled out ahead of HD DVD.
According to the Video Business report, Fawcett cited NPD Group research for the data, but declined to declined to provide exact market share percentages of the two sides. Fawcett is said to have attributed the surge as mostly due to the introduction of Sony's $499 player in early June.
Although Blu-ray has enjoyed a 2-to-1 lead in disc sales over HD DVD since the start of 2007, the HD DVD camp has long attributed Blu-ray's lead to the short term market dominance of the Blu-ray enabled PlayStation 3, while pointing to its decisive lead in standalone player sales as a long term sign of strength in the high-def format war.
If independent numbers end up confirming this news from Sony, it would certainly seem to be a punch in the gut for HD DVD, especially given the extent to which its backers have emphasized their own lead in this category.
Needless to say, we'll let you know of any updates in this developing story.