Analyst: Blu-ray Leads HD DVD in Hi-Def Video Market

DALLAS - A new report from media research firm Parks Associates confirms Blu-ray's lead over HD DVD as the dominant next-gen video format. The report projects an 85% increase in sales of Blu-ray and HD DVD players over the next four years, from 4.9 million units in 2007 to over 32 million in 2011.

"Purchasing or renting DVDs will continue to be a dominant way for consumers to view content," said Parks Associates research analyst Chris Roden. "What has yet to be determined is which format will become the standard, HD DVD or Blu-ray? However, we are starting to see the pendulum swing slowly in one direction. Recent retail developments, support from major Hollywood studios, and inclusion of the format in the PlayStation 3 puts the Blu-ray format in the lead."

But HD DVD remains the adult industry's hi-def format of choice, mainly due to the limited availability and high cost of replication. Vivid's Debbie Does Dallas remains the only licensed, copy-protected adult Blu-ray disc on the market; web-based has been selling its own Blu-ray porn discs in January, minus the copy protection, and Anabolic Digital has announced plans to issue its gonzo movie Penetration 13 on Blu-ray.

Tom Funk of adult company High Def XXX told AVN, "'Winning' is a relative term. Blu-ray is selling more, but it's not like there's going to be a winner or a loser. These will eventually converge the way that DVD R and DVD-R converged. The adult industry will be using HD DVD primarily; even if a few Blu-rays come out, HD DVD will be far and away the preferred format because of cost. I am preparing to do a Blu-ray, but it's so expensive; I mean, it's literally gonna be close to $10,000 to release a title, and that's for just like 1,000 discs. But I do have the capability of doing it. If somebody came along and said, 'Here's $10,000, put one of your titles into Blu-ray,' I'd allocate that money and boom, we'd have it in a month."

High Def XXX currently authors HD DVD titles for Adam & Eve, CD Girls, LFP, Nicholas Steel and Platinum Blue, and has pending deals with New Sensations and Evil Angel. All High Def XXX titles are released in HD DVD and dual WMV-HD/standard disc format simultaneously, bundled together in each unit.

"There are quite a few companies that are interested in starting to release on HD DVD, and I guarantee none of them want to pay the price tag of Blu-ray. From the adult industry perspective, there are quite a few plans in the works, it's just taking a little bit of time to ramp up to it. As the prices of the players continue to come down, that'll mean more players are out there. I get more and more calls from stores saying, 'Yeah, we get people asking about it.' Or stores that we do sell to say, 'Yeah, they sell pretty quickly.' "

On the costs of replication on Blu-ray coming down enough for adult studios to afford, Funk remarked: "They will, but you have to remember that the cost of upgrading to HD DVD is actually fairly small. The cost of Blu-ray is not upgrades; it's a whole new, from-scratch system [that costs] $3 million. There's not enough Blu-ray out there to really justify more than like eight of them in the world at this point. And I think it will be a while before the cost comes down. Because they still need to recoup their $3 million -- and the cost of licensing and everything else that they have to pay. That's going to keep the price up; it's not going to come down anywhere near HD DVD anytime soon."