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Four Hundred Percent Increase in HD Discs

The high definition (HD) video disc markets in both the U.S. and Europe continue to perform in line with expectations, following a more bullish outlook once the world shifted to one format at the beginning of this year.

All eyes are on Q4 with many wondering just how big it will get, with so many HD video title releases planned to reach the shelves with the DVD release. The consensus seems to be that consumers will buy close to 45 million Blu-ray HD discs in the U.S. this year -- more than 400 percent up on last year.

On big titles, the share of total sales being taken by HD has already hit 5-6 percent and by Q4 it is possible well see a 10 or even 12 percent share for some of the really big hitters.

In Europe, awareness and uptake are still lower overall, although in the key markets the retailers and the studios are reacting to an uplift in interest this year and are gearing up for a good end to 2008.

"We expect 2 percent of unit sales in the lead markets of the UK and France to be on HD this year and this is likely to hit 5-6 percent next year," says Mai Hoang, a lead analyst in the Futuresource Home Video team.

By 2012, between 40 and 50 percent of consumer expenditure on video discs will be allocated to Blu-ray according to the latest analysis from Futuresource.

What has been disappointing to date for the content companies has been the lack of catalog title sales, although the studios are showing no signs of reducing their interest in catalog product.

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