Updated at 9:15 a.m. PDT with background on the DVD format wars.
Research firm In-Stat has declared a "winner" in the DVD format wars between Blu-ray and HD DVD. And the winner is...
In-Stat, in a research report released Wednesday, noted that the Blu-ray and HD DVD format war ended in the early part of the year, and that Blu-ray recorder and player sales are expected to reach 5 million by the end of the year.
With the death of HD DVD earlier this year, some took it a step further, saying Blu-ray's top-dog spot may be short-lived should digital downloads replace the need for Blu-ray discs. But for now, Blu-ray is expected to enjoy its position.
In February, Toshiba said it would stop making HD DVD products, following a two-year war between the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats. Shortly thereafter, the three movie studios that were then still supporting HD DVD withdrew their support and declared they would get behind Blu-ray.
Sales of DVD players and recorders worldwide hit 142 million units last year, according to the market research firm. This year, In-Stat expects a decline in the DVD hardware market because of saturation in some markets and also because DVD recorders failed to grab consumers' interest as DVD players did.
What isn't clear is whether Blu-ray's growth will make up for the decline of HD DVD sales by the time digital downloads of movies become pervasive.
Blu-ray's adoption rate is hampered by the price of the players, according to In-Stat.
Two years ago, a Toshiba DVD player cost $500 to $800, while the cheapest Blu-ray player ran nearly $1,000.