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Researcher: 'Second wave' HD adopters favour HD DVD

But rather a lot of people couldn't care less

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More people thinking of buying an HD TV in the next six months are also thinking of buying an HD DVD player than those who are thinking of buying a Blu-ray Disc machine.

The claim comes from market watcher The Diffusion Group (TDG) by way of the HD DVD Promotional Group. It's based on research conducted with US consumers, 1500 in October and 2000 more in November this year.

TDG found that almost 30 per cent of respondents in households that don't already own an HD TV are planning to acquire one in the next six months. This is interesting of itself, because it indicates that more than two-thirds of them aren't after an HD TV. The surveys sampled adult "internet users" and "broadband users", so the folk questioned clearly have some interest in technology.

Focusing on that 30 per cent who do want an HD TV, an unspecified number said they also want to get a hi-def media player in the next six months. Of that second total, 43 per cent want an HD DVD machine, while 27 per want a Blu-ray box.

Tellingly, 30 per cent said they were undecided. So there's clearly a lot more for the two formats' backers to play for than the small gap between HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc fanciers suggests.

TDG identified 517 people who already own either an HD DVD or Blu-ray box - 14.8 per cent of the total sample. A smaller number - 293 people, 8.4 per cent - want to buy one. TDG didn't identify these folk as non-HD TV owners, so we have to assume that some already have HD TVs. Either way, it's not a ringing consumer endorsement of HD discs, of either format.

What else can we say? More than half of the folk who've already bought into HD media playback kit consider themselves early adopters. No surprise there. Well over half of the people who are planning to buy an HD media player are 'second wavers' - consumers who prefer to wait for the technology to stabilise and, crucially, for the price to come down.

They, said TDG, are more likely to favour HD DVD.

We'll see. What's unclear from the research is whether the survey was made before the Thanksgiving buying period or after. Other data points to a Blu-ray win here, though there's still Christmas to play for, so no one can justifiably claim outright victory yet.

We'd also suggest that the figures indicate that HD TV ownership - reckoned to be high in the US - doesn't translate into demand for HD disc, of either format. Both the HD DVD and the Blu-ray camp are going to have their work cut out persuading these folks they need a better machine than their regular DVD player.

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