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Blu-ray discs outsell HD DVDs almost 3:1 in Europe

17 BD playback boxes bought for every one HD DVD unit

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European consumers have bought more than 1m pre-recorded movie Blu-ray Discs, the next-gen optical disc format's backers said today. That's roughly 73 per cent of all HD discs sold in Europe in the past 12 months, they claimed.

The figures were published by the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) but produced by independent market watcher GfK. The two numbers don't quite synchronise: the total number of discs purchased are sales to date, but the percentage comes from disc sales since this time last year. But though Blu-ray Discs have been technically on sale longer than that, the year-to-date figure almost certainly so far outweighs disc sales up the the end of 4 November 2006 that the percentage isn't likely to be that far out.

From which we can conclude that around 1,369,863 high-definition discs have been purchased in the last 12 months, of which 369,863 were HD DVDs, less than a third of the total.

Now, since HD DVD player owners have bought, on average, 3.8 discs, according to the European HD DVD Promotional Group, that means there are roughly 97,332 HD DVD players and Xbox 360 add-ons out there. By contrast, there are 1,666,667 Blu-ray players and consoles in Europe - since those million discs were bought at a ratio of 0.6 discs per player owner. That 0.6 average also comes from the European HD DVD Promotional Group.

1,666,667 Blu-ray machines and 97,332 HD DVD devices - that's approximately 17 Blu-ray capable players in use to every HD DVD unit.

The BDA claimed the figures released today don't include sales of game discs. They shouldn't do so because the comparison would be unfair - there are no HD DVD game discs. However, add in the sale of PS3 games and the total number of BDs bought rockets past 21m.

Knock off the million movie discs and you have 20m games discs - approximately 12 per player, using the above Blu-ray player total, the vast majority of which are PS3s. There may be too few PS3 games out there that show off the console's capabilities to the full, but the machine's fans are clearly buying the other titles.

The BDA said the best-selling Blu-ray titles year-to-date were 300 – the best-selling title in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Benelux and Sweden - and Casino Royale, which took the number one slot in the UK and Ireland.

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