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Scorecard: HD DVD vs. BluRay, Round 1

DVD Format Wars

The holiday sales are over, the after holiday sales are on, and while the verdict on the leading standard in higher capacity, higher quality High Def DVD media remains undecided, the following is an impromptu, and largely unscientific, survey to see which format is leading.

The methodology is simple: Using Amazon’s sales rankings, I have taken titles from their sales list and compared the price and sales rank for the same title in each of the three formats: standard DVD (widescreen or fullscreen as noted), BluRay and HD DVD.

I’ve tried to pick titles that hit a mix of demographics by choosing from five categories: the romantic comedy, the sci-fi techy fantasy, the action flick, the comedy, and the drama.

I haven’t accounted for new releases vs. old (e.g. how long has the movie been available for sale), for movies considered critics picks or cult classics, or otherwise. I also haven’t discounted for the fact that not all titles are available in both high def digital formats, nor have I factored in the fact that available titles may not be the most desirable comparative examples.

For the survey, I’ve picked titles at random (not even with regard for movies I like or hate) from the limited titles available in both formats.

These sampling flaws duly noted for the critics…. The envelope please: "And the winner is … NOBODY, by split decision."

In the limited sampling (all data is shown below) both formats sold reasonably similar volumes for the same titles. Unfortunately, there is still too limited pool of titles available in both formats (no romantic comedy was included for this reason) to make a more accurate assessment.

As it stands now, if you want to watch Crash, Courage Under Fire, or Click it is BluRay or bust. If your watch wishlist has Casablanca, Field of Dreams, The Breakfast Club,The Interpreter or Fast Times at Ridgemont High on it, you’re going to need an HD DVD player or patience.

Considering I’m not interested in buying the equivalent of 8 tracks that won’t play in my cassette player, I will be waiting on the sidelines and enjoying my old records, I mean standard DVD’s, until this little war is settled. I’m in no hurry go upgrade to High Def… I suspect the same is true for many consumers.

(To keep score, I will revisit this survey throughout the coming year.)

The sales ranking data follows:

Unforgiven(Western/Drama 1992)
Widescreen Edition – #1958 Blu Ray – #7529 HD DVD – #4100

Blazing Saddles (Comedy 1974)
Widescreen Edition (30th Anniversary) – #427 Blu Ray – #6549 HD DVD –#6607

Firewall (Action/Suspense 2006)
Widescreen Edition – #2489 Blu Ray – #22922 HD DVD – #24759

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (Sci/Fi /Fantasy 2004)
Widescreen Edition – #3796 Blu Ray – #13831 HD DVD – #9275

Romantic Comedy
I could not find a suitable title available in both formats.

The Top 10

The top selling BluRay and HD-DVD discs for 2006, according to Amazon were:

1. Superman Returns 1. Superman Returns
2. Batman Begins 2. The Fifth Element
3. Serenity 3. Terminator 2
4. Apollo 13 4. The Terminator
5. V for Vendetta 5. Underworld: Evolution
6. The Last Samurai 6. Black Hawk Down
7. Mission Impossible: Ultimate Collection 7. The House of Flying Daggers
8. Bourne Supremacy 8. Ice Age: Meltdown
9. Miami Vice 9. Kingdom of Heaven: Directors Cut
10. Phantom of the Opera 10. X-men: The Last Stand


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