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US Blu-ray Disc player sales pass 2.7m

Close to HD DVD total - if you ignore PS3

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North Americans have bought 2.7m Blu-ray Disc players, including games consoles, the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has claimed.

The figure encompasses total sales up to and including 24 November, the BDA said. While the exact ratio of PS3s to standalone players isn't clear, the vast majority of them - 2m or more - are Sony consoles.

That leaves standalone player sales somewhere in the region of 600,000 to 700,000 units, we'd say - not bad given HD DVD has drummed up unit shipments of 750,000 units to much the same date, according to the HD DVD Promotional Group. HD DVD players have been available to buy for a longer period than Blu-ray Disc machines.

The HD DVD figure includes Xbox 360 add-on drives, but since these are really only useful for watching HD DVD movies, that's fair enough. By contrast, it remains unclear how many PS3 users are making use of their console's Blu-ray DIsc playback feature. Overall disc sales suggest not many are, but the number is still sufficient to exceed the number of HD DVDs being bought: 4m BDs in the US to 2.5m HD DVDs. At least that's what the BDA is claiming.

But even if we write off all PS3 owners as gamers not interested in using the ir consoles for movie playback - a silly assumption, but bear with us - the BDA's numbers show that so-called 'real' movie fans are not much less likely to choose Blu-ray Disc than they are to opt for HD DVD. But of course PS3 users are buying movies and it's building momentum behind the format.

Last week, it was reported that 72.6 per cent of HD discs bought in the States over the Thanksgiving holiday period were BDs, according to market watcher Nielsen VideoScan. This "despite the $99 HD DVD fire sale", the BDA claimed.

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