Blu-ray disc sales exceeded those of HD DVD by a wide margin for the third quarter in a row, setting the stage for a crucial Q4 sales showdown.
According to recently released numbers from Home Media Research, sales of Blu-ray discs totaled 2.6 million units from January 1 through Sept 30, versus 1.4 million HD DVD discs sold over the same period. That's a 1.85:1 sales lead for Blu-ray for the first nine months of this year.
A month into the fourth quarter, however, there are some encouraging signs for HD DVD, with analysts predicting a much tighter disc sales race for the crucial holiday shopping season.
First off, there's last week's record-breaking HD DVD-exclusive release of 'Transformers' (which reportedly sold 190,000 units in its first seven days), followed by several upcoming high-profile releases exclusive to the HD DVD format, including 'Shrek the Third' and the newly remastered 'Star Trek: The Original Series - Season One' (an HD DVD/DVD combo disc release that will not be made available as a standalone standard-def DVD).
Of course, the Blu-ray camp has its own high-profile exclusive releases scheduled, sales of which which could very well exceed those of the above-listed HD DVD titles. Among the highly anticipated titles headed to Blu-ray this quarter are 'Spider-Man 3,' 'Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End' and 'The Simpsons Movie.'
Add hardware to the equation, and it becomes an even muddier picture. With prices dropping for next-gen players on both side of the aisle, there's no telling how many new early adopters will be entering the fray over the next two months, or what effect their hardware purchases will have on overall disc sales.
As always, stay with us for continuing coverage.