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Blu-ray builds big lead in US, mag claims

Sales figures suggest victory's still not certain

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Blu-ray Disc appears to be cementing its lead over rival next-gen format HD DVD, with the latests sales figures from the US pointing to more than two BDs sold for every HD DVD disc.

According to figures compiled by US trade publication Home Media Magazine, some 832,530 pre-recorded BDs were sold to consumers during the first three months of 2007. Punters bought only 359,300 HD DVDs. In March, the sales figures were 335,980 and 119,570, respectively.

Of the quarter's top selling HD discs, eight were BDs, the magazine claimed.

HD DVD supporters might suggest that's due to the short-term availability of more in-demand titles on the rival format. Indeed, Martin Scorsese's The Departed, released on both formats on 13 February, sold more copies on BD than HD DVD, but by a much lower margin: 53,640 to 31,590 - a sales advantage of 1.7x to the overal lead of 2.3x.

The ray of hope for HD DVD here is that when it comes to movies buyers might actually want to own - as opposed to simply grabbing content that'll play on new hardware - BD's lead shrinks.

But a lead it remains, and for all Toshiba's aggressive HD DVD player pricing, the much bigger sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 appear to be generating more momentum for Blu-ray. However, the Home Media Magazine figures show it's too soon to claim victory yet - this battle's still being fought.

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