The Blu-ray and HD-DVD format war has begin in earnest now that players and discs are being sold in the US.

Market research firm Screen Digest has released a report that forecasts the trends for the next-generation discs in the coming years ahead.

Its analysts believe that rather than one disc being knocked out of the market and the other achieving dominance, the formats will coexist until it becomes cost-effective to market dual-format players and drives.

Screen Digest Chief Analyst Ben Keen said in a statement, “The net result of the format war and the publicity it has generated will be to dampen consumer appetite for the whole high definition disc category”.

The analysts believe that 430,000 high definition disc players will be sold in 2006, and 1.35 million players in 2007.

By 2010, just under a third of all spending on discs in the US, Japan and Europe will be from high definition formats, which will total $11 billion out of a total of $39 billion.

The report also says that few people will replace their DVD collections with the next-generation discs.

Graham Sharpless, author of the report, explains, “The success of DVD was due to a single format that offered better quality and greater convenience than the VHS format that it replaced".

“This time both formats support similar features.”

However, comparisons done recently by various technology journalists have suggested the HD-DVD has the edge over Blu-ray in quality.

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