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HD DVD players get a sales lift thanks to sub-$100 pricing

The battle in the next generation high-definition DVD format war is far from over. HD DVD and Blu-ray have been fighting it out in the market for roughly a year and neither side shows any signs of giving up the fight.

In late October, DailyTech reported that Blu-ray disc sales held a commanding lead over HD DVD for the first nine months of 2007. Blu-ray outsold HD DVD by a 2-to-1 ratio racking up sales of 2.6 million units versus 1.4 million units for HD DVD.

Since the inception of both standards, a total of 3.01 million Blu-ray discs and 1.97 million HD DVD discs have been sold.

Toshiba, the main backer for HD DVD, decided to turn the tables a bit in order to swing the sales momentum back in its direction. One by one, retailers started dropping the price of the second generation Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player. Wal-Mart dropped the price of the player from $299.99 to $198 in late October. Circuit City and Amazon both followed suit pricing the player at $197.99.

On November 1, DailyTech brought you news of Wal-Mart's secret in-store sale which listed the price of the HD-A2 at an unheard of $98.87. Soon after, Best Buy countered by pricing the player at $99.99. Sales of the player were so furious at that the stock was depleted leaving backorders to be fulfilled with the third-generation HD-A3 at no additional charge.

It appears that Toshiba efforts to drive down the price of entry for HD DVD paid off. Video Business reports that 90,000 Toshiba HD DVD players were sold over the weekend thanks to the price drops.

For comparison, Sony has sold 100,000 of its $499 BDP-S300 set top player since its introduction during the summer.

Despite the weekend surge in HD DVD player sales, Sony can still claim the largest install base with its Blu-ray hardware. Since its introduction in November 2006, Sony had shipped over 5.51 million PlayStation 3 consoles -- each of which features a Blu-ray drive.

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RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By TomZ on 11/7/2007 11:54:17 AM , Rating: 4
Exactly - cheap players will drive the market. The PS3 certainly gave Blu-ray a good initial boost, but cheap players now are the most important factor going forward towards getting one format or the other into high-volume mainstream use.

The typical end customer does not understand and does not care about the differences between the formats. They mainly just have to compare cost of high-def players to make a decision.

What I don't understand is why Sony doesn't "get" this?

RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Procurion on 11/7/2007 12:39:49 PM , Rating: 2
Sony is an institution in Japan much like our brands in America or Europe, I guess. Years ago Sony would flop worldwide but recoup their money from their Japanese sales. The world is a changing place though, and like I pointed out when this was anounced, the stink is hitting the fan. Volume and discount pricing! Quality and upgrades become the selling points in a few months. It is a beautiful thing to watch in action.

RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Xavian on 11/7/2007 12:47:17 PM , Rating: 4
I believe the main reason why Sony doesn't "get" it, is because Sony still believes they can charge a premium for a product with their name on it.

But unfortunately this isn't the case anymore, nowadays there are competing electronics companies out there that can provide the same quality electonics as Sony but at cheaper prices (See Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer and Toshiba); and ofcourse if Sony doesn't take the lead and start dropping their prices on their stand-alone players, none of the others in the Blu-Ray Consortium will either.

Ultimately the biggest problem with Sony is they no-longer know how to take the lead with formats or technology in general, they seem to have lost that ability somewhere between Compact Disc and Betamax.

RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By sviola on 11/7/2007 1:01:15 PM , Rating: 2
Because Sony can't, it's written in all their internal documents:

"Thou shalt overprice!!"

RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/7/2007 7:21:47 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that cheaper 1080p HDTVs are the first step in getting people to rebuy their DVDs in HD and a getting a new player. So yeah, let's not get ahead of ourselves. Everyone arguing in this forum is not the average consumer. It takes a slightly higher order of intelligence to realize that and put yourself in the mind of someone who is far less tech-enthusiastic than you.

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