Blu-ray dominates Japanese HD recorder sales
Can HD DVD catch up?
High definition media like HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc has increase to account for just under 20 per cent of Japanese consumers' retail recorder purchases, numbers from market watcher GfK show.
And of the two HD formats, Blu-ray has been outselling HD DVD by a hefty margin.
For the week ending 12 November 2007, DVD's share of the Japanese retail disc recorder sales was 80.2 per cent, down from 83.4 per cent the previous week, GfK's figures - supplied, we should say, by the Japanese wing of the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) - show. For the previous three weeks, moving backwards, DVD's share was 84.8 per cent, 91.9 per cent and 94.7 per cent, respectively.
A clear shift to HD media, then - over the last five weeks at least.
HD DVD's share of the HD recorder market hasn't exceeded five per cent during the five-week period GfK's figures cover. It started out at 4.2 per cent, had fallen to 1.3 per cent by week three then risen to 2.8 per cent in the week to 12 November.
Japanese consumer HD recorder sales
During that period, the rise in demand for HD recorders has been dominated by Blu-ray, but that's no great surprise. Blu-ray recording technology has been around a lot longer than its HD DVD equivalent and has become more mature. Equally, Japan is home to far more Blu-ray backing manufacturers than it is to vendors who favour HD DVD.
Historically, HD DVD recorder sales have grown. GfK's figures charting monthly unit sales from October 2006 through to 18 November 2007 show a slow but steady rise from January 2007 onwards. Before then, sales were stuck at zero - Japanese buyers couldn't choose HD DVD recorders if they wanted them.
By contrast, the first consumer-oriented start selling in appreciable numbers in November 2006 - though pro-oriented BD recorders have been around for quite some time before then - and grow in a steady, straight line until October 2007 when sales suddenly shoot up. The increase between November 2007 and October 2007 is even steeper.
BluRay was designed from the start as a Recording medium; pre-recorded discs were only an afterthought, because the people behind it thought the future was all about people taping stuff off HDTV. So while HD-DVD has many technically nice things about it, its use in recording devices really isn't one of them.
@Scott - as a HD-DVD player owner, I wholeheartedly agree that 30Gb is enough for a pre-recorded title. However, this is the case because the advanced codecs allow you to squeeze a movie in that space easily. When used as a blank disc to stuff video on from off the telly, more capacity is a really good thing. Partly to give you more hours of recording, but also because it means you can use a simpler, cheaper encoding path that well and truly outweighs the costs from the BD-ROM format.
Toshiba is a Japanese Company
And what vastly superior specs are those of Blu Ray out of interest?
If anything they're lesser due to a complete cock up of standards from the outset, an overly complex menu creating language and hugely un-optimised extras.... as for the specs, if you want to be pedantic HD probably wins, the main reason being it does have standards... the actual video and audio are IDENTICAL they use the same codecs, so how on gods earth can one be vastly superior than the other? Have a look at the actual costs of pressing a BR compared to an HD DVD, costs of manufacture, ever changing standards and then come back with a reason why BR is better.
I'd hardly say BR has better studio support either, that really depends on what films you want really... i mean if you want a Disney classic you're limited to BR (at the moment, they're showing signs of a shift...) however if Micheal Bay blockbusters are your thing, then you'd better start liking HD DVD pretty soon.
The Japanese have always avoided foreign brands, this is why the PS3 is doing better than the 360 there whereas elsewhere the story is completely the opposite.
Western consumers seem to go for what they perceive as the best product - sometimes that's the same as Japan, i.e. the Wii, sometimes it's different i.e. the 360 in the west, the PS3 in Japan. What this does mean however is that as Japan loses it's hold in the tech sector which it is in some areas Japan is becoming increasingly irrelevant as a measure of success and I'd argue it's largely irrelevant in this case.
With just short of 335mill people in North America, 800mill in Europe, Japan's relatively small 120mill are again another reason for Japan's irrelevance in measure. Countries like China, India and many south American countries are often following the Western nations trends in purchase of consumer electronics albeit it to a lesser extent due to the relative poverty however of course this poverty is decreasing in these nations compared to much slower or even negative growth in the richer nations of the world.
To put simply then, I'd say it matters little more what's happening in the Japanese market than what's happening in the Spanish, the French, the Canadian or even the British market because in these nations alone the format wars are not going to be won. Japan's biggest problem is that it's strong patriotism to home brands risks leaving it as an anomaly rather than an example of trends should any of the home brands such as the PS3 fail to the 360. It's foolish to treat Japan with the same importance as the whole of North America or Europe nowadays as many sites seem to.
Re: All this proves...
Did you actually read the article?
It is talking about recorders, not players, there is quite a difference between, you know.
If you want to start a flaming war, because you have not read the article, please proceed to Slashdot, were it is almost a virtue not to read the article before posting.
By the way, you might need to check up on your prices. The $99 HD-DVD standalone player was a sale, regularly around $199 now, and the PS3 is down at $399, sometimes lower.