Research: 32 million high-def players to sell by 2011

It’s beginning to look a lot like a high-definition Christmas, and the battle lines are already forming between the Blu-ray and HD DVD camps. The stakes are getting clearer, too: Parks Associates today released a report estimating that, counting both set-top boxes and game consoles, more than 32 million Blu-ray and HD DVD players will be sold in United States by 2011, up from the 4.9 million units estimated to be sold this year.

Below, a Parks Associates graph showing their projections for high-definition player adoption:

“Purchasing or renting DVDs will continue to be a dominant way for consumers to view content,” stated Chris Roden, Research Analyst at Parks Associates. “What has yet to be determined is which format will become the standard, HD DVD or Blu-ray? However, we are starting to see the pendulum swing slowly in one direction,” said Roden. “Recent retail developments, support from major Hollywood studios, and inclusion of the format in the PlayStation 3 puts the

Blu-ray format in the lead.”

The HD DVD camp hits back with this statement from Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of HD strategic marketing for Universal Studios Home Entertainment (GE):

“Target (TGT) will continue to carry the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive as well as HD DVD titles so we don’t see much of a change in their plans to carry both formats. In fact, they continue to sell Toshiba HD DVD players on their web site. Sony (SNE) appears to have bought an end cap, just as HD DVD has in retail stores such as BestBuy (BBY) and Circuit City (CC). What’s important is that stand alone HD DVD players are still much more affordable than Blu-ray players, plus they offer a better experience – just compare titles appearing in both formats like ‘300’ or ‘Blood Diamond.’ Ultimately consumers will be the ones that determine what format provides the greatest value.”

There also has been plenty of HD DVD news out of Comic-Con 2007 this week, a convention that has basically expanded into a festival for entertainment geeks. The high points:

  • “Heroes: Season 1” will be available August 28, 2007 as a web-enabled HD DVD title offering viewers the newest, most comprehensive interactive experience exclusive to HD DVD, including a web-enabled Download Center, a Heroes Abilities Test, “The Helix Revealed”, Character Connections and Picture-in-Picture Commentary. As part of the Heroes promotion, consumers will also be able to download trailers, teaser scenes and other promotional materials highlighting the “Heroes: Season 1 boxed set” on HD DVD from Xbox LIVE Marketplace.
  • The new $179 price for the Microsoft (MSFT) Xbox 360 HD DVD Player will be effective August 1 in the U.S. Buyers can choose five HD DVD titles for free from a selection of 15 popular titles via a mail-in offer
  • CBS Home Entertainment (CBS) and Paramount Home Entertainment announced the upcoming release of “STAR TREK: The Original Series” in a 10-disc HD DVD/DVD combo disc set featuring pristine HD audio and video, picture-in-picture video commentaries and an in-depth tour of the starship Enterprise.
  • Toshiba announced the availability of the Qosmio® G45-AV680, a cutting-edge audio-video notebook computer with Dolby® surround sound technology and the first U.S. model to feature an HD DVD-R optical drive and full 1080p playback resolution.
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