Recently, C|Net’s David Carnoy drew a lot of flak for predicting that Blu-Ray will beat the pants out of HD-DVD and that HD-DVD will have to shut down by year’s end. After drawing lots of fire, he just posted the defense for his claims here.

But there’s something else that’s in the air. Something that David and all the format-war-watchers should keep an eye on, and which may be a more reliable harbinger of things to come. Namely, the stuff that are actually selling in the high-def bestsellers lists of both formats.

And if you take a peek at the current bestsellers, you’ll see one huge difference that may mean the eventual win of Blu-Ray.

First, here’s the current top ten sellers for HD-DVD.

Top 10 HD-DVD Bestsellers (c/o DVD

  1. Eagles: Farewell 1 Tour
  2. Hollywoodland
  3. Half Baked
  4. Chicago/ Earth, Wind and Fire: Live
  5. Toto: Live in Amsterdam
  6. HDScape Exotic Saltwater Aquarium
  7. James Taylor: Musicares Person of the Year Tribute
  8. Pat Methany Group: The Way Up
  9. Heart: Alive in Seattle
  10. Casino

Now take a look at the top ten for Blu-Ray disc sales:

Top 10 Blu-Ray Bestsellers (c/o DVD

  1. The Guardian
  2. Flyboys
  3. Open Season
  4. Crank
  5. Alien vs. Predator
  6. Superman Returns
  7. Saw III
  8. Legends of Jazz with Ramsey Lewis
  9. Pearl Harbor
  10. The Last Samurai

Do you see the difference? Holy Hannibals, the HD-DVD bestsellers are a bunch of musicfests for the forty-something-and-up geriatric crowd. Where are the good movies? The only recent movie here is Hollywoodland… and it was a box office dud. In fact, just recently this list also included Poseidon. Argh. You can detect a sense of foreboding in the air when its number nine topseller is an act that seems happy to still be alive.

By contrast, Blu-Ray bestsellers seem to point to a younger, more mainstream crowd. Heck, Ashton Kutcher is number one here. And then there’s the visually dazzling Flyboys, the over-the-top Crank, and man, the lovely The Last Samurai. Even Superman Returns is here (no matter what you think of it, it’s still a visual treat that you’d want to see in a home theater). This is a healthy list, with a number of recent box-office winners. This is a list that says “We’re young, we love movies, and we love them newfangled machines! Bring ’em on!”

In short, if the best discs that HD-DVD can come up with include a saltwater aquarium, then the format is doomed. Sorry to say this, but the Sony consortium has the winners right now. More important, they have the younger, and therefore potentially larger, market.

And when stuff like Spider-Man and Star Wars (and Casino Royale, which pal David is waiting for with bated breath) come out, then, in the words of Hudson in Aliens (another movie that will only come out on Blu-Ray), it’s “Game over man. Game over!”