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Blu-ray ramp beats DVD up-take in Europe

But not for much longer?

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More Western Europeans own Blu-ray Disc players in the format's third year of availability than owned DVD players at the same stage in that technology's development.

So said market watcher and Blu-ray advocate Jim Bottoms of research company Futuresource today.

"2008 represents year three for BD and we anticipate more than 10m players, including PS3s, in use by the end of this year," he said. "Looking back to DVD’s early years, we see that closer to 1.5m DVD players were installed by the end of year three [1999]."

Interestingly, BD fared less well than DVD during the formats' respective first year on sale - 2006 and 1997, respectively. In 1997, some 50,000 DVD players were sold - the best BD could manage was 10,000 units.

But from year two onwards, BD has proved more popular than DVD did at the same point in its history.

Blu-ray Disc and DVD take-up in Western Europe

BD vs DVD

Source: Futuresource

“Looking forward, BD installations are projected to continue to run significantly ahead of DVD," said Bottoms, nonetheless. "The timing of the PS3 launch has clearly provided a big boost to the initial uptake of BD - with a number of hot games titles now starting to emerge and console prices continuing to fall we can expect to see continued strong uptake.

“Longer term, as player prices continue to fall, title availability grows and awareness increases, BD players will become the product of choice – given the fact that they also play DVD and CD media – and there will come a time when the branded suppliers focus on this higher capacity drive, mirroring the trend we saw with DVD players replacing CD decks.”

Futuresource's numbers only go out as far as year six - 2011 for BD. It's interesting to see DVD narrowing the gap, and following the two lines, it could well be that year seven or year eight's numbers will see BD with a lower installed base at that stage than DVD had.

Will we all be downloading movies by then?

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