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Toshiba HD-A35  (Source: AV Watch)
The third time's a charm with Toshiba's HD DVD player lineup

Toshiba isn't standing still when it comes to the development of HD DVD players. The company announced today that it has revamped its entry-level, mid-range and high-end players and that all three will retail for under $500.

"With a majority market share in unit sales of next generation DVD players, consumers are speaking loud and clear, and they are adopting HD DVD as their HD movie format of choice," said Jodi Sally, VP of Marketing for Toshiba's Digital A/V Group. "Because of the proven manufacturing efficiencies of the HD DVD format, Toshiba can bring this level of innovation in technology to a new generation of players with cutting-edge functionality at affordable prices."

The first new model is the entry-level HD-A3. Toshiba didn't divulge many details on the HD-A3 other than the fact that it features 1080i output. The mid-range HD-A30 adds support for 1080p output along with what Toshiba calls "CE-Link" or HDMI-CEC. CE-Link allows for a two-way connection between the HD DVD player and TV over HMDI.

The high-end HD-A35 also features 1080p support and CE-Link, but also adds support for Deep Color over HDMI, 5.1 channel analog audio output and High Bit Rate 7.1 Audio over HDMI.

All three players feature a slimmer exterior design with rounded edges and a high-gloss black finish. According to Toshiba, the third generation players are half as tall as the first generation units.

Toshiba's HD-A30 will be available in September at a price of $399.99. The HD-A3 and HD-A35 will be available in October with price tags of $299.99 and $499.99 respectively.

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RE: And Yet...
By Guyver on 8/6/2007 4:42:06 PM , Rating: 5
Well if Blu-Ray is doing THAT well, there’s no reason why Samsung or LG who used to be Blu-Ray only supporters would even bother with making a combo player. Arstechnica a while back pointed out that “The PS3 has no games in the top twenty list for June, nor the top ten for the first half of the year.” It’s also no surprise that the PS3 has been in last place for console sales. The Nintedo software sales are showing just how well the hardware sales drives the software.

Blu-Ray supporters heavily cite the huge number of Blu-Ray discs sold. But I haven’t seen anybody put this into perspective. For the most part, I believe Sony is enjoying Blu-Ray sales much like Nintendo is for software sales but for different reasons.

Every time Toshiba declares a victory citing standalone players sold, Sony’s rebuttal has been to include their PS3 consoles as well. At last count (and at Sony’s insistence) there were 1.5 million Blu-Ray players sold. At around that time, they reached selling 1 million discs. That’s less than one disc per player.

Toshiba at that same time pointed out that they were only 2,000 discs behind Blu-Ray and their installed base was around 300,000 players. That’s over 3 discs per player.

So how is it that Blu-Ray disc sales are doing so well? It seems when you have 1.4 million BORED gamers because there are not that many games worth playing that those $15 coupons Sony bundled with their PS3s seem to be spurring those sales. Blu-Ray sales seem to be doing “okay” so long as there are no great PS3 games out.

I think Sony has seen what price cuts did for Toshiba and they realize when the good games start coming out (and they will) that those same gamers who are propping their disc sales will more than likely drop their interest in Blu-Ray movies due to cost and replay value. For those two reasons, Sony probably dropped their entry-level Blu-Ray player before launch in order to get more stand alone players in people’s hands. They know ultimately the hardware is going to drive this format war.

That being said, this format war is ridiculously small. I think I recall reading that the DVD version of Borat alone has sold more copies than all HD-DVD and Blu-Ray discs sold combined and that only 1% of all HDTV owners actually have a HD player for their TVs.

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