However, console figures are not included

HD-DVD leads European market says study

HD-DVD players are outselling rival Blu-ray players by a margin of three-to-one according to the European HD-DVD Promotional Group.

According to the lobby group, HD-DVD has a 74 per cent market share in the likes of Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Spain and Switzerland for stand-alone players. The group, which is lead by Toshiba and has backers including Microsoft and Warner Bros declined to give out figures.

It also said that the market share did not include consoles such as Sony’s Blu-ray or Microsoft’s Xbox 360.

Warner Bros spokesperson for the HD-DVD group, Steve Nickerson suggested that high prices where behind the slow uptake of both formats. "You can’t get to mass-market consumption until you get to mass-market pricing," he told Reuters.

He was however positive about the speed at which high-definition formats where taking over from standard definition DVDs. "If we take a pragmatic approach, and understand we’re still only selling to innovators, we are ahead of the DVD curve."

Toshiba’s spokesman for the European HD DVD group, Olivier Van Vieandal also echoed the assertation that prices were too high, suggesting that 70 per cent of consumers would be willing to purchase a player when it dropped below $200 (£100).

He did however say that profit margins for its players where comparable for its DVD players in Europe – something that is likely to attract retailers more and more as the price reaches that key point.

Nickerson refused to speculate when prices would drop, however did say: "I can’t say if it’s likely this year, but it will happen, yes. It took nearly four years for that price point to be achieved in DVD … anything inside three years would be significantly improved compared to the DVD."

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