Blu-ray gains ground this holiday, DVD still leads

Blu-ray has a long way to go before it can wrest the top home movie format spot from its forebear, but that doesn’t mean the two can’t co-exist. New sales data shows more consumers are embracing high-def movies. The 16-year-old DVD technology continues to slide, but still has some life left in it.

Blu-ray gains ground this holiday, DVD still leads

Citing Nielsen sales reports, research group IHS iSuppli found that many fall blockbusters fared better on Blu-ray. Home BD releases of “Thor” and “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” turned in 54 percent and 55 percent of their total sales, revealed Jan Saxton, senior analyst for IHS Screen Digest.

In September, George Lucas’ space opera “Star Wars” debuted on Blu-ray in a 9-disc collection. The $79 box set sold over 520,000 copies in its first week on shelves.

Combining DVD and Blu-ray discs in a single package also helped the latter’s sales figures, said Saxton, adding that the practice isn’t limited to brand new releases.

“Most major titles now have BD versions that include a DVD in the box, often including digital copy as well, and video consumers are showing a willingness to pay a little more for what they perceive as significant extra value,” she explained. “Older catalog titles are achieving healthy sales by putting a BD, DVD and digital copy in one box, and then priced for impulse buys at $14.99 and below.”

Consumers still chose DVD en masse even as sales figures for the aging format dropped around 10 percent since last year, IHS found. In the lead up to the holiday shopping season, that drop-off has slightly decreased.

IHS said its expects “a significant shift” in the sales ratio between Blu-ray and DVD from here on out. The price of Blu-ray players has dropped considerably in the past year, with many shops now selling the devices for $100.