Blu-ray aims to oust DVDs within three years

"Within three years it will just be Blu-ray," Frank Simonis, the Blu-ray Disc Association's European chairman, said at the CeBIT technology trade show. Blu-ray, which offers 25GB per layer for storing high-definition films and other content (five times more than DVDs), will first have to beat the rival HD-DVD format, which offers 17GB per layer but claims cheaper production of players, burners and discs. The HD DVD camp conceded it is being outsold by Blu-ray because of PS3 by at least five to one, but it claims that sales of movie titles are still level. A total of 5.2 million Blu-ray discs have already been sold, said Nick Sharples at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe. Hundreds of thousands of titles have been given away to consumers buying a PS3.

Any difference between regional sales may be explained by the fact that European consumers cannot yet buy PS3s and there are only two Blu-ray players available, Simonis said. "It's the launch of the hardware, pulling the software. That has yet to play out in Europe," said David Walstra, director of AV technology at Sony. Five out of eight major Hollywood studios support only Blu-ray. One studio, Universal, supports only HD DVD. The HD DVD promotional group, in a separate presentation, said consumers should not only focus on the big blockbuster titles from Hollywood but also those from regional film houses in Europe and Asia, which would bring many titles to HD DVD because it was cheaper and simpler. Hollywood and electronics manufacturers hope new high-definition DVDs, with better picture quality and more capacity, will rejuvenate the slowing $24 billion home DVD market.

News source: ComputerWorld

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