Research firm challenges supposed popularity of HD-DVD format

The recent survey by Harris Interactive, which suggested that HD-DVD continues to be roughly as popular as Blu-ray, has met with some controversy over its methodology. In fact, I received a lengthy e-mail from Adams Media Research's press representative strongly refuting the Harris study's findings.

The recent survey by Harris Interactive, which suggested that HD-DVD continues to be roughly as popular as Blu-ray, has met with some controversy over its methodology. In fact, I received a lengthy e-mail from Adams Media Research's press representative strongly refuting the Harris study's findings.

At dispute is that Harris interviewed a random selection of consumers rather than relying on actual sales figures, which Adams says favors Blu-ray by a wide margin. For instance, the 2008 sales data noted that 2.7 percent of U.S. homes with TVs had Blu-ray standalone players, along with 5.6 percent owning PlayStation 3s. In comparison, only 0.3 percent of households owned a HD-DVD set-top player. That's a huge discrepancy, especially odd since how likely is it to find that large a random oversampling of people with HD-DVD drives?

In any event, Adams' research concludes that Blu-ray adaptation is ahead of standard DVD technology at the same point in each product's lifespan. Still, I'm not convinced Blu-ray has reached "critical mass," as Adams claims, or that PlayStation 3 market penetration will reach 10 percent of U.S. TV households by year's end. Nonetheless, the best way for Blu-ray to put the ghost of its format wars with HD-DVD in the past is to lower prices on players and Blu-ray discs and sell much, much more of them.