Format War: "Top 10" Selling Blu-Ray Disc Sells 880 Copies

Format wars are bad for consumers, but it looks like they’re not too fun for the industry either. According to recent sales figures from Nielsen VideoScan, the number 10 best selling high-def disc “Babel” sold a whopping 880 copies. That’s fewer people than attended our high school.

The best selling high-def disc since the format launched is Scorsese’s “The Departed” on Blue-Ray with 38,993 total copies. For what it’s worth, it does seem that Blu-ray is winning, but its obviously much too early to call it. —MEGHANN MARCO

Sony Report Reveals First Look at Absolute Blu-ray and HD DVD Disc Sales Figures [High Def Digest via BoingBoing]

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  1. slapstick says:

    Maybe I’m blind/crazy, but it looks like 880 to me, not 830.

    Blu-Ray isn’t going to work, IMO. I think that within 5 years a significant amount of people will be getting their content via a direct download, and not on DVD or any other format.

  2. ironchef says:

    it’s the ABSURD MSRP. Hello.

    The whole blueray/HD DVD wars is an exercise in pure pricing stupidity. The prices are set to punish early adopters.

  3. karmaghost says:

    I’m not sure I understand, maybe I just need some clarification. It looks like Babel actually sold 880 copies. Also, how is “The Departed” (@3,057 copies) the best selling since launch when Casino Royale clearly sold 28,233 copies? Does this chart represent different data than is being quoted?

  4. Buran says:

    I’m not buying til there’s ONE standard, and until the prices are sane. C’mon, I can get a DVD player for $30 and they want $800? HD is cool (and I have a Series 3 HD TiVo and an HD display) but not THAT cool. I’m not made of money and I’m not buying a player that might wind up as an expensive brick.

    C’mon, where’re the dual-format players!?

  5. lastfm says:

    Funny, I read 880.

  6. mac-phisto says:

    important to note that these titles aren’t selling at MSRP either. top 3 are selling for $26.95, $23.95 & 23.95, respectively. i’ve seen them on sale for less elsewhere…

    am i the only one that doesn’t care about HD-quality videos yet? my DVDs look just fine to me.

  7. mac-phisto says:

    @mac-phisto: those were amazon prices, btw.

  8. @mac-phisto: I think most people don’t care yet. I don’t have HD TV. Why would I want HD DVDs?

    Don’t popular titles get millions of DVDs sold? Is having under 1mil of a popular title sold being in your format really “winning”?

  9. TheDude06 says:

    I heard casino royale was being bundled with something or other that might have made its “sales” numbers not quite count.

  10. royal72 says:

    can you say laserdisc the second coming? sure the videophiles are gonna get it, but the masses are perfectly happy with dvd quality and are definitely not gonna pay those prices.

    ps. hollywood better start coming out with some better shit, before i even remotely consider bluray or hddvd… oh god yes please, can i pay $30 for “are we done yet”, because i already plopped down $50 to take the family out for a movie night and i just gotta see it in all it’s hd glory!!!

  11. tentimesodds says:

    @karmaghost: The chart above is just for one week. Casino Royale came out that week and hadn’t yet surpassed The Departed’s total sales. Don’t forget that PS3 owners got a copy free, I think.

  12. moksha says:

    Casino Royale was packaged with the PS3 for the European launch, which occurred on March 23.

  13. mac-phisto says:

    @royal72: oh, come on. you don’t think a rehash of four 20 year old movie plots is worth $80 of your hard earned cash? you tightwad.

  14. hemaphore says:

    “When in five years, this remarkable achievement in the advancement of fidelity is obsolete and unplayable on any ‘modern’ equipment, remember, in 1971, the 8-track tape was the state of the art.”

    – Steve Albini

  15. thrillhouse says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation:
    “I think most people don’t care yet. I don’t have HD TV. Why would I want HD DVDs?”

    BINGO!

  16. aka Cat says:

    The improvement from VHS to DVD was significant enough for me to drop $600 on a player and $30 each for the DVDs ten years ago.

    From DVD to HD DVD? Not so much, unless I try to cram a 100″ TV into my tiny living room.

  17. Kornkob says:

    The question I always ahve with things like this is:

    Are these numbers representative of ‘sell throughs’?

    I know that at work (game developer) we could care less how many copies ‘sold’ to a retailer. We care about sell throughs. Until the product is in the hands of the retailer, the disc is actually a liability to our organization because it can come back to us if the retailer can’t move it. (Generally instead of returning it we end up negotiating a lower price with them to keep it on their shelves).


    So– is that 880 actual customer purchases or 880 units sold to retailers?

  18. up2late says:

    Yeah, like a lot of other folks here have said, I’m gonna hold off on adopting this new “bleeding edge” of technology. My 36″ TV is not HD-compatible, and the pricing of blu-ray players and movies/games is astronomical.

    For now, I’m satisfied with DVD’s and/or my Dish Network DVR. Let the suckers bite first, I’ll wait a few years for the inevitable tech shakedown and for prices to drop to half (or below) where they’re currently at.

  19. Youthier says:

    @CatMoran: Exactly! The advantages between a videotape and DVD were more than just picture quality and it was worth the pricey upgrade at the time.

    I’m just not interested in checking out Sarah Jessica Parker’s pores at this time.

  20. I recently spoke to the video guy at my local BestBuy who told me that Blu-Ray players are outselling HD-DVD players at least 10:1 in his store. I guess he wasn’t that far off. The interesting thing was that the BestBuy display for the Blu-Ray DVDs was about three or four times the size of the display for the HD-DVDs.

    Is it cynical of me to think, with the numbers being so close (844,000 Blu-Ray units vs. 708,600 HD-DVD units, according to the article), that maybe BestBuy is, um, pushing a particular format?

  21. erock0 says:

    I just picked up the HD-DVD upgrade for my xbox (was going to buy an unconverting dvd player but they run nearly 100 bucks anyway). I do love the quality during playback, sound and features. What is really nice is that most of the movies are dual format so that they will continue to play on DVD even if HD-DVD is not adopted. I figured, the only way for one side to win the format war is for people to buy the devices. The only crappy part are the prices, but I can get most movies for 20 bucks shipped off ebay.

  22. minnasota says:

    These figures look pretty suspicious to me. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I attended a talk where the prof said over half of all book sales are through Wal-mart, yes overtaking specialty retailers like Barnes and Noble. It’s not insane to think this might extend to dvd and other media sales.

    Possibly, the early adopters of high def discs are technologically astute and only make purchases online (whoops, those aren’t counted either) thus justifying these numbers. I’m more apt to believe that these figures vastly understate the number of discs sold.

  23. ngwoo says:

    I hooked up my neighbor’s Blu-Ray player to my 22″ computer monitor, and I’d love to see it on a nice 50″ screen now. Once you see HD, you really never want to go back.
    It’s a given that Blu-Ray will succeed – but not take over.

  24. randalf says:


    I think the most likely outcome in the “format war” will be the large-scale production and purchase of multi-format players.

    It’s not like VHS vs Betamax where the formats were physically different in shape and size, necessitating a choice of player. Both HD-DVD and BlueRay disks have the same footprint, so we’re not going to have that problem this time around.

    I’m happy to wait until such players appear on the market at a reasonable price, although an “HD Ready” LCD TV is first on my list of purchases.