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Brits spend more on HD DVD than Blu-ray

Of course - there's no PS3 yet

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Brits favour HD DVD over Blu-ray Disc, it has been claimed. According to online retailer Play.com, UK consumers are spending more than twice as much on HD DVD players and content than they are on BD kit.

The numbers are based on pre-orders made via the website. Hardware sales favour HD DVD 2:1, while content favours the Toshiba-led format 3:1.

Price almost certainly has something to do with buyers' choices. Play.com is currently offering Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray Disc player and Toshiba's HD-E1 HD DVD machine. They're priced, respectively, at £950 and and £450. The Samsung machines is offered at £50 below list price.

What Play.com isn't doing, however, is offering Sony's PlayStation 3 for pre-order, and that could alone skew the figures in HD DVD's favour, since the Blu-ray based PS3 will provide a (relatively) low-cost entry into the next-generation optical disc market but not until March 2007.

Still the numbers provided HD DVD with momentum going into Christmas. Whatever the merits of either format, HD DVD can take advantage of not only a much lower price than its nearest rival but also the breathing space allowed by the PS3's European delay.

In the end, the lead may not count for much. Quite a few consumers have HD Ready TV sets, but plenty more don't, and it's going to be hard to sell to a mass market the benefits of HD disc formats without them. ®

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