TOKYO (AFP) — Next-generation DVDs are catching on with Japanese consumers, with sales picking up sharply at the end of 2007 and the Blu-Ray format blowing away the rival HD-DVD platform, new figures show.
In a replay of the VHS-Betamax battle in video cassette tapes in the late 1970s, two different DVD formats are hitting the market offering cinematic quality images and interactive entertainment -- but at a significantly higher price than traditional DVDs.
A major study of 2,300 electronic stores across Japan found that consumers were increasingly buying the next-generation DVD recorders.
The proportion of DVD recorders sold that were next-generation rose from 6.1 percent in October to around 20 percent in November and December, said the study by Japan's Business Computer News think tank released Thursday.
Due to the price difference, next-generation DVDs made up a lucrative 35 percent of the total value of DVD recorder sales in the last two months of 2007, it said.
Blu-Ray, the format created by Sony Corp., accounted for a crushing 90 percent of next-generation DVD recorder sales in the three-month period, the study said.
Blu-Ray is used in Sony's PlayStation 3 video-game machine, but the study only looked at living-room DVD recorders.
Three Sony models were the top-selling next-generation DVD recorders, with the electronics giant accounting for some 60 percent of total sales in the sector.
Panasonic maker Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. took 27 percent of sales, with Sharp Corp. coming in third at nearly 10 percent. Both Matsushita and Sharp support Blu-Ray.
Toshiba Corp., the main supporter of HD-DVD, enjoyed only four percent of the sales, the study said.
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