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Blu-ray vs HD DVD: Blu-ray outsells HD DVD in January

As the HD DVD vs Blu-ray fist-fight continues, HD DVD suffers a small blow as Blu-ray manages to outsell it in the first two weeks of January

Despite oft-repeated claims that the Blu-ray vs HD DVD battle is similar to the VHS vs Betamax scuffle of the 80s, the latest news makes it appear that Sony might actually have backed a winner this time.

The most recent sales figures generated by Nielsen VideoScan, a US company responsible for measuring the sales of video products in retail stores, indicate that Blu-ray has stepped up its game and sold twice as many discs as HD DVD in the first two weeks of January. And although HD DVD has sold more units overall so far, it doesn't sound like it will be able to maintain its lead for long.

It's probably fair to assume that the PlayStation 3 has a lot to do with this sudden surge. According to sales figures, the PS3 sold 1 million units in its first six weeks on sale. We can only imagine that the lucky Americans who were presented with one on Christmas Day all immediately rushed out and bought something to play on their shiny new Blu-ray drive.

Looking at the Superman Returns sales rank on, the Blu-ray version was further up at 1,476, with the HD DVD edition languishing at 2,133. What surprised us was the discovery that the Blu-ray version was cheaper than the HD DVD -- an interesting turn of events, given the early claims that HD DVD was the cheaper format to produce.

Could the war be over already? Not yet: the absolute numbers of all next-gen discs sold are still tiny compared to the established DVD format. But no doubt Sony will be jumping for joy with the thought of the enormous royalty payments it will receive if Blu-ray does ultimately succeed. -IM