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Blu-ray winning in Europe

We've seen the US picture - how's the war waging over here?

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Europeans together own more than 55,000 HD DVD players and Xbox 360 add-on drives, it has emerged, but that total pales beside the number of PlayStation 3s sold over here: 750,000.

Market watcher Understanding and Solutions - which has long vociferously forecast Blu-ray's victory in the format war - provides the figure for standalone players, though the number of Xbox HD DVD drives comes from Screen Digest. Both figures arrive via a story in US publication Home Media Magazine.

U&S has another stat: during 2007, BD media outsold HD DVD by a ratio of three to one, with Blu-ray passing the million disc mark in November of that year.

If that doesn't show that, contrary to what some observers claim, PS3 owners are interested in watching movies as well as playing games, we don't know what does.

Interestingly, combining all these figures reveals HD DVD owners have bought, on average, more than six discs each. PS3 users, by contrast, have each purchased three-quarters of a disc. Those averages broadly match statements made in the past by the European HD DVD Promotional Group, which would lends weight to the figures quoted by the various research companies here.

European sales of standalone BD players remains a mystery, but it's not likely to be a large number and certainly smaller than the HD DVD player total, thanks to much higher prices, later launches and the widespread availability of the PS3.

If Register Hardware readers are anything to go by, there's a clear trend evidenced by their comments on the topic that a fair few folk have bought a PS3 primarily to watch HD movies on.

The high number of BDs sold compared to HD DVDs, and the relatively small showing of BD standalone players, demonstrates that in Europe the PS3 is driving uptake of the Blu-ray Disc.

Still, compare that to DVD sales: 250m in 2007, up 29m discs on the previous year, according to the British Video Association, again by way of Home Media Magazine.

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