Prediction: Blu-ray blows away HD DVD

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2008 is the year Sony's Howard Stringer and the Blu-ray Disc will slay HD DVD as effectively as Joseph Turok dispenses with dinosaurs. If you're unfamiliar with that metaphor, you probably don't have a PlayStation 3.

Every PS3 console sold in the U.S. comes equipped with a Blu-ray DVD player. That's an advantage that has put the Sony device in about 2.7 million U.S. homes, compared with fewer than 750,000 for HD DVD. Blu-ray movies also outsell HD DVD movies in Europe by a 3-to-1 margin. This despite HD DVD players costing less than half the price of a PS3/Blu-ray combo unit. True, Paramount, DreamWorks and DreamWorks Animation recently joined Universal in exclusively embracing HD DVD. But those decisions stemmed from a $150 million "incentive payment" that smacked of desperation.

To truly understand Blu-ray's dominance, compare titles that are available in both formats. Warner Bros.' "300" is the best-selling next-gen DVD, and Blu-ray boasts an advantage of 66% to 34% over HD DVD in sales of the title.

The final stake in HD DVD's heart could come from Blockbuster, which is testing both formats. "It's still about 70%-30% in favor of Blu-ray at our stores that offer both," a Blockbuster spokeswoman says.

Dual players are expensive, and a recent Forrester Research study suggests that 22% of Americans say they will not buy a next-gen player until one format wins over the other. Couple that with the 25% who say they'll never buy a next-gen player, and the incentives are in place for Hollywood to finally stop confusing the consumer with one too many choices.






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