HD DVD celebrates its first birthday with 100,000 players

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group have announced that more than 100,000 dedicated HD DVD players have sold in the U.S. in its first year since the format’s introduction to the market. This figure does not include sales of HD DVD PC drives or the Xbox 360 HD DVD player.

Earlier this month, Toshiba dropped prices on its line of HD DVD players, with the entry-level HD-A2 coming in just below the $400 mark.

“Toshiba remains committed to drive sales with strategic pricing and marketing to complement the rapid market adoption of HDTVs,” said Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing, Toshiba America Consumer Products. “Retailers are showing a significant increase in sales volume this month so far. On, our HD DVD players continue to rank among the top ten best sellers of all DVD players, which says a lot about how consumers relate to price.”

Although raw sales of movies currently favor Blu-ray, the HD DVD Promotion Group points out that it leads in the area of standalone players. The vast majority of Blu-ray capable machines are in the form of Sony’s latest games console, the PlayStation 3.

The HD DVD Promotional Group also points out that its format currently has the edge on mandatory special features, such as a network connection, picture-in-picture, persistent storage, and decode support for Dolby True HD. Consumers can also enjoy combo discs that include a DVD version as well as an HD version on a single disc for playback on a variety of machines.

HD DVD’s mandatory HDi support has Warner Home Video releasing ‘timed exclusives’ for the HD DVD format. Titles such as Batman Begins, V for Vendetta and Poseidon appear only on HD DVD, though those movies will see eventual release on Blu-ray following the mandatory inclusion of picture-in-picture BD-Java support. The Complete Matrix Trilogy is coming in May on HD DVD first, with a Blu-ray version to follow later in the year.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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