NPD: Blu-ray 92.5%, HD-DVD 7.5%

These numbers are based on latest NPD Group report as blogged by Engadget. The numbers are based on, I believe, retail sales of Blu-ray and HD-DVD players from places like Best Buy.

I do believe that a single high-definition format for optical discs would help the market grow a bit faster since there are many folks waiting for just that to happen and not currently purchasing either format. But, let’s not jump to conclusions based on what NPD has to say.

I personally don’t purchase many products from Best Buy and only when they have a sale of a certain item that is cheaper than anywhere else I can get them. The 24″ LG monitor is a good example (though I had to return it). The $449 price was simply unbeatable. At other times, I make my purchases elsewhere. It is my belief that retail is undergoing a massive transition.The shift is from shops like Best Buy to places like CostCo. I can usually get a much better deal at CostCo, however CostCo doesn’t have all the models that Best Buy carries. For instance, Sony’s KDL-46V2500 (46″, 1080p, 7000:1 CR, HDMI) is currently going for $1999.99 at Best Buy. I can’t find this exact model at CostCo, but I did find the KDL-46VL130 (46″, 1080p, 1800:1 CR, HDMI) for $1699.99. This price is after a $300 coupon and is limited to purchases between January 22 and 26. So there are some limiations. Also, as you can see, the KDL-46VL130 has a lot less contrast ratio, so the $300 cheaper price might be warranted.

If you want the best deal and you know exactly what you want and don’t mind dealing with an online retailer, you can price comparison shop using online services like PriceGrabber and get a great deal online. Using PriceGrabber, I was able to fine the same $1999.99 KDL-46V2500 being sold at Best Buy for just $1595.00 (before tax and shipping) by B&H Photo. That’s a lot of savings.

So my point is that more and more TV purchases are being made at CostCo, Wal-Mart and online. This, unfortunately, is not being captured by NPD. So the Blu-ray 92.5% and HD-DVD 7.5% retail market share for players in the week ending January 12 can be quite misleading. I will bet that Blu-ray will eventually win as major studios have sided with Blu-ray, as can be seen with Warner’s recent decision to go with Blu-ray. But to think that HD-DVD is dead already would be a hasty decision.

Source: Engadget

Update 2008.02.15

Wal-Mart announced that it has chosen to sell Blu-ray movie titles and hardware come June. That means no more HD-DVDs or players at Wal-Mart from June. This is according to Check Out, a Wal-Mart blog. Since Wal-Mart is the largest retailer in the US, and if I had to guess where the future lies for high-definition optical media, I will have to guess that Blu-ray will come out the winner. It is just a matter of time now.

Update 2008.02.19
Toshiba, the developer and main supporter of HD-DVD, announced that the company will “no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders.” In the press release, Toshiba will stop supplying the retail channel by the end of March 2008. You can read the entire press release here. I thought the death of HD-DVD would come a bit later, but with recent developments such as Wal-Mart backing Blu-ray exclusively, it was a smart move by Toshiba to end the high-definition DVD war. This also allows all of us who have been waiting for a standard to finally go out and purchase that Blu-ray player that we’ve been eying!

[tags]NPD, Sony, Blu-ray, HD-DVD, LCD TV, Toshiba, Wal-Mart[/tags]

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