Home entertainment spending in Q3 was either up 3.8% or down 12.1% — depending on how you want to interpret the numbers out today from the Digital Entertainment Group.

The trade group likes the upbeat number, which tallies consumer rental and purchase spending at $4.17 billion, up from $4.02 billion in the period last year.

But that includes subscription streaming, primarily from Netflix, which was added to DEG’s calculations in 2011. That category was up 23.9% from last year’s Q3 to $1.61 billion.

Some analysts say that it doesn’t belong: SVOD services are more like premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime, they note, and DEG hasn’t defined them as part of the home entertainment sales and rental universe.

If you take out subscription streaming, then home video spending fell to $1.62 billion from $1.84 billion. Using this approach, the growth in digital sales and rentals failed to offset the steep drops for DVD.

DEG says that spending on Blu-ray discs of movies and TV shows increased 6% in the quarter, though it doesn’t provide a revenue number.

Even so, total disc sales fell 8.7% to $1.05 billion. The digital counterpart, electronic sell-through, was up 9.8% to $486.2 million.

In rentals, brick-and-mortar stores were down 22% to $107.9 million. Subscription rentals of discs, mostly from Netflix, dropped 16% to $135.1 million. And kiosk rentals, primarily from Redbox, dropped 17.1% to $325.1 million.

Video on demand sales improved 4.8% to $463.8 million.