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High-def movies will soon reach the mass market thanks to Wally's World

Reports came in late last week of Wal-Mart planning to stock inexpensive high-definition disc movie players for under $300. The retailer reportedly is ordering 2 million players produced by Great Wall Corporation in China, with parts developed by Taiwan’s Fuh Yuan and Japan’s TDK, in a $100 million deal.

Although the news was initially pegged as a huge boost to the HD DVD camp, closer examination and more accurate translation of Chinese reports indicate that the players for Wal-Mart are “Blu-ray (or blue light) HD DVD” players, adding an extra layer of confusion to the matter. Both next-generation optical formats use blue or violet lasers, so unless the player is to be compatible with both HD DVD and Blu-ray, the exact nature of this low-priced will be unknown until we get official English confirmation.

Wal-Mart spokesperson Mellissa O’Brien would not comment on the apparent deal between the retailer and its Chinese manufacturing partners, but did offer to Home Media Magazine, “[Most] of the shoppers asking about and purchasing either Blu-ray or HD DVD are already pretty savvy technically about both — they are the kind of consumer that absolutely wants the very best and latest in quality that's available. It's not quite yet a product the average shopper is attune too, but we anticipate that will change very soon as prices continue to come down.”

The release date of the player is just as widely speculated upon as the price. However, reports cite the manufacturer’s plans of fulfilling the entire 2 million unit order by the end of 2008 point to a release likely within a year’s time.

Toshiba recently dropped the price of its entry-level HD DVD player to $399, making a low-cost high-definition player for under $300 look extremely plausible. Blu-ray hardware maintains a higher price point in the market, with Sony planning for a $599 standalone player coming this summer.

Currently, the cheapest Blu-ray Disc player is in the form of the PlayStation 3, which until recently, allowed consumers to buy into the format for $499 with the 20GB console. Sony is now offering only the 60GB model, citing overwhelming consumer preference.

For Xbox 360 owners, the least expensive way to watch HD DVD movies is with the add-on drive which retails for $199. The drive also works on high-end computers, giving home theater PC owners another cost-effective option.



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RE: Inexpensive?
By Larrymon2000 on 4/23/2007 9:00:59 AM , Rating: 2
150 and up for a decent DVD Player? No, I don't think so, especially since you can get a good one for 100 bucks here, in Canada. I would think that someone on a modest university budget would come to that conclusion.


RE: Inexpensive?
By mackintire on 4/23/2007 9:42:36 AM , Rating: 2
Your eyeballs must be decieving you. I own a 42" panny. and I can tell you that I see interlacing issues, inverse telesync issues and cadence issue. Not to mention the other items like audio replication and color rendering. I'm looking forward to getting a Oppo DV-970HD.

The combination of cadence change and bad inverse tele really looks ugly.


RE: Inexpensive?
By DocDraken on 4/23/07, Rating: 0
RE: Inexpensive?
By Hare on 4/23/2007 9:51:55 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
It's especially the sound quality that sucks on the cheap players.

Not true. If you are talking about digital multi channel audio (DD, DTS etc) it should be obvious that your receiver/amp does the processing. The player has nothing to do with the sound quality from the digital out, it simply passes through the ones and zeros.

It's like saying that Mp3's from sound better from Seagate drives compared to Western Digital...


RE: Inexpensive?
By zombiexl on 4/23/07, Rating: 0
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson














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