Toshiba HD-A35
Toshiba slashes prices on HD DVD players and launches campaign targeting SD DVD owners

Seemingly resolute in its cause, Toshiba announced today new pricing and marketing strategies for HD DVD.

Realizing that price is one of the biggest barriers in mass consumer adoption of a new technology, Toshiba has dropped its suggested retail pricing across the entire third-generation HD DVD player line. Effective starting January 13, the price of the entry-model HD-A3 will be $149.99, the HD-A30, with 1080p output, $199.99, and the high-end HD-A35, $299.99.

New, lower pricing on Toshiba HD DVD hardware appeared over the weekend when online retailers listed the HD-A3 as low as $129.99 and the HD-A30 at $179.98.

"While price is one of the consideration elements for the early adopter, it is a deal-breaker for the mainstream consumer," said Yoshi Uchiyama, Group Vice President Digital A/V Group. "Consumer sales this holiday season have proven that the consumer awareness of the HD DVD format has been elevated and pricing is the most critical determinant in consumers' purchase decision of the next generation HD DVD technology. The value HD DVD provides to the consumer simply cannot be ignored."

Last year, special holiday sales of entry level HD DVD players had consumers taking home new hardware for under $100. Thanks to priced-to-move sales on HD DVD hardware, Toshiba moved 90,000 players during a weekend sales rush.

The second point to Toshiba’s two-pronged attacked is its new marketing campaign aimed to inform consumers on the DVD-upscaling capabilities of its HD DVD players. All of Toshiba’s HD DVD players will upscale a standard-definition DVD to high-definition resolutions.

"HD DVD is the best way to watch movies in high definition," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing, Toshiba's Digital A/V Group. "Our HD DVD players not only play back approximately 800 HD DVD titles available worldwide and deliver an entirely new level of entertainment but also enhance the picture quality to near high definition on legacy DVD titles by all studios. In short, we added high def to DVD which already is the de facto standard format created and approved by the DVD Forum that consists of more than two hundred companies."

While Toshiba overstates in its press release the improvement of upscaling DVDs to 1080 resolutions (especially when compared to true high-definition movies), those looking to extend the life if their existing standard-definition libraries should consider a high-definition player. Nearly all Blu-ray Disc players on the market, including the PlayStation 3, also feature similar upscaling technologies.

Toshiba said that its new advertising strategies will include television, print and online media channels, along with dealers and studio partners on joint marketing and promotional initiatives to promote HD DVD.

With Warner Bros. siding exclusively with Blu-ray Disc this summer, Toshiba appears to be exploring every angle to turn the tide in the still-ongoing high-definition format war.

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