One advantage that HD DVD always held over Blu-ray Disc is its
price point on hardware. While Toshiba has been essentially the sole supplier
of HD DVD players to consumers, other companies have surfaced interested in
targeting the entry-level segment of high-def adopters.
In late August, Canadian-based Venturer Electronics announced that it
will launch its first Chinese-manufactured HD DVD player, the SHD7000, in time
to meet the holiday 2007 sales season. At the time of the Venturer’s
announcement, the company expressed that its machine will be priced “to be one
of the lowest among entry-level HD DVD players.”
Venturer’s SHD7000 has finally hit the market, appearing
first in select stores and online for
$197.88. This matches up closely with a report earlier this year, which
cited Wal-Mart’s deal
to purchase 2 million players produced by Great Wall Corporation in China
in a $100 million deal – working out to be $200 per player.
Of course, given the recent sale prices of Toshiba’s
entry-level, previous generation HD-A2, the Venturer SHD7000’s $197 price
doesn’t seem attractive as it would have months ago. Retailers such as Wal-Mart,
City and Amazon.com in late October sold the Toshiba HD-A2 player for under
$200. Wal-Mart soon offered the same player for $98.87
during an in-store special secret sale. Best Buy matched the sale and went
the extra mile and offered
the newer HD-A3 in place of sold out HD-A2 sales.
The special prices on the Toshiba HD-A2, however, were a
product of a sale. Both Wal-Mart
are now pricing the HD-A2 at just under $250, making the Venturer SHD7000 the
most affordable unit at the moment.
According to High-Def
Digest, the Venturer SHD7000 is a low-cost alternative that “is
functionally identical to Toshiba's HA-A3 HD DVD player, offering 1080i video
output via HDMI and Dolby TrueHD support.”