The Venturer SHD7000 is now $197.88 at Wal-Mart  (Source: Venturer Electronics)
$197 HD DVD player hopes to bring high-definition to Wal-Mart shoppers

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, Circuit City and 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 and 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.”

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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