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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 BestBuy.com 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 BansheeX on 11/7/2007 3:24:48 PM , Rating: 0
The reason all analogies to betamax fail are numerous:

1) gaming was nowhere near as popular and there was no playstation back then helping betamax get market penetration.
2) betamax never had anywhere near as many backers as blu-ray has always had
3) betamax was truly a proprietary technology. blu-ray was A joint development and actually has more than one company making players for it (unlike HDDVD). By 1977 VHS had five major japanese manufacturers on board with it. Sony had itself.
4) VHS (JVC and Matsushita), with RCA on board, began making tapes with twice the recording capacity of betamax before the market began to move strongly in favor of VHS.

On the contention that price was the deciding factor in the betamax war: false. Betamax players could often be found much cheaper than VHS when it was losing as well. The deciding factor in the war had more to do with recording time and giving customers a product they were willing to pay for.

So if you're going to pretend to be an analyst, get your facts straight, and if you're going to make a case for HD-DVD, don't bring up betamax again because it makes HD-DVD look like betamax.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By FITCamaro on 11/7/2007 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 2
Toshiba may be the only real seller of HD-DVD players but they are still outselling all the standalone Blu-ray players combined.

And it's pretty sad that Sony has only moved 5.5 million PS3s worldwide. Especially considering a good number of them have been bought primarily as a Blu-ray player. I know a lot of numbers say that people don't know about the Blu-ray player in the PS3, but thats America. Not the rest of the world.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By retrospooty on 11/7/2007 9:04:09 PM , Rating: 4
and what is your point? numbers can be fudged, and/or misinterpreted? True, but a $100 HD-DVD player beats the hell out of a $400 BR player any day, its playing (mostly) the same movies at the same quality. That alone is enough to swing it in favor of HD-DVD.

As for your argument above, you did make some good points, but they are all out of context and you are completely missing the point on viper's post. BR is a perfect parallel to betamax, and the PS/3 will have little effect on the war, 99% of its buyers buy it for games, and in the end it will be standalone player sales that decide the war.

"What makes a format succeed is large volume sales for players at good prices. "

that point alone makes all of your points irrelevant.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By retrospooty on 11/8/2007 10:21:03 AM , Rating: 3
Do you wonder why every post you make on this gets rated down to the minimum? Its because your points are all irrelevant and out of context.

And we are not talking about a person that doesnt enjoy films. Films can be enjoyed on any DVD player. We are talking about the next gen HD format and it is for people that want to enjoy high-def movies. People that want that are going to buy high def movie players when they are cheap (speaking by the masses, not the few early adopters). PS/3 did give BR an early bump, but it wont last, unless BR can match HD-DVD's low prices on the standalone players. end of story.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Procurion on 11/7/2007 7:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
Doing five minutes of research on a Betamax fan page isn't enough to give you an understanding of what happened. Remember that most people who would bother to write the epitaph for Betamax were ardent fans and users.

1) Your supposition that gaming is going to make the product succeed is flawed. Stand-alone players/recorders are the market. It reigned as the most popular format for almost a decade.

2) Incorrect. Betamax had a HUGE base-most of Japan, and they used it almost exclusively for over a decade. It was also pushed to the extreme over here. This is a quote from wikipedia, which has all the footnotes for reference.

quote:
In addition to Sony and Sanyo, Beta format video recorders were also sold by Toshiba, Pioneer, Aiwa and NEC, and the Zenith Electronics Corporation and WEGA Corporations contracted with Sony to produce VCRs for their product lines. Department stores like Sears, in the US and Canada, and Quelle in Germany sold Beta format VCRs under their house brands as did the RadioShack chain of electronic stores.

Sony introduced the Betamax home video system in 1975 with the LV-1901 Trinitron/Betamax console. It was the most popular video format in 1983, gaining almost a third of the UK video recorder market, while Sanyo's VTC5000 was the top selling UK video recorder. By 1985, however, the market had turned sharply towards VHS.


Ummm...you seem to have ignored history.

3) Virtually every notable manufacturer was making Betamax recorders. This point isn't even worth arguing-you have no clue.

4) You explain how, but not why. Sony refused to design a deck with a slower tape speed, otherwise they could have had the whole ball of wax. RCA requested it of Sony, and only went to Matsushita when Sony refused.

Price WAS the deciding factor. Sony never really dropped its' prices, preferring to keep them artificially high for its' profit margin. Cheaper equipment and longer recording times are what killed Sony and Betamax. Saying that you could find a cheap Betamax deck a decade into production when Sony was desperate is below threshold, my friend.

Not only am I playing at being an analyst, but I lived it. I read the newspapers, saw the ads, read the stories, and watched the whole process.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/7/07, Rating: -1
RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By retrospooty on 11/8/2007 9:40:25 AM , Rating: 2
Its funny how you keep posting out of context facts and continue to ignore the main point...BR and HD both use the same expensive blue lasers and both play the same quality output, yet HD can now be found for $100 and BR is $400 for a standalone player.

That alone will be BR's downfall. When BR drops to $100, HD will be <$50.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/8/2007 10:24:06 AM , Rating: 2
Out of context? Explain. More explanations, less trumpeting please. There are prerequisites before price will matter: HDTV ownership, far more major titles released, and a less than 100% premium over DVD media for starters. Once you understand that, we'll get the fanboys to pipe down a little with the blind trumpeting about player price. I see prerequisites where you fail to out of passionate support for a format you bought into. You won't see a blitzkrieg of old people fighting for these players this holiday season as you're predicting, I guarantee it.

HD can now be found for $100

Where? Link pls.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By retrospooty on 11/8/2007 10:52:30 AM , Rating: 4
Link? What are you talking about? Its been all over anandtech for the past week, walmart best but etc... If you must have a link, here you go http://www.dailytech.com/article.aspx?newsid=9572

Out of context explanation: You keep posting factoids about beta, ps2 and blue ray, but are ignoring the price, which is by far the largest factor to mass appeal. When playing a high def movie, BR and HD are equal. A low end BR player costs $400 and an HD can be found for $100. I never predicted a "blitzkrieg of old people fighting for these players this holiday season" as you say, nor do I own any HD-DVD, or BR equipment yet, I merely said that the lower price of HD will be a factor in the long run and will eventually lead to victory. I also question the fact that BR and HD use the same expensive lasers from the same vendor, so why is BR so much higher priced (the answer is Sony royalties).

Now with that said, if sony, or anyone else can release a cheap BR player that is in the same price range as HD-DVD, then BR would have the advantage and would likely win.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Locutus465 on 11/8/2007 11:28:44 AM , Rating: 2
Banshee has a good point about HD-DVD pricing... I own an HD-A2 my self which I picked up for $130 at Circut City. The HD-A2 is now out of production however, and the $100 to $130 price point was a one time thing thus far... So if you don't have one now, then you'll have to wait and see what happens for black friday...

That said, Toshiba still has a significant price advanatage over any SA BD player (sony is fixated on PS3 for some reason) and this is unlikely to change any time soon. What sony doesn't understand is that most people don't want a PS3 as their DVD player, they want an actual SA DVD player which is stackable and quite a bit more silent than a PS3...

I do realize that the PS2 had a big impact on original DVD adoption, and it gave BD desperatly needed life, however you're crazy to think if BD is going to survive on the back of the PS3... People want SA DVD players, Toshiba is offering (compared to BD) in expensive HD-DVD players which offer the exact same feature set as BD... With christmas season sales, and expected price reductions on the HD-A3 to as standard price of $199.99 (or lower) BD will very quickly find it's self in a bad spot. And unfortunetly this time around it really does look like Sony and co. is taking a "wait and see what happens" approch to Toshiba's HD-DVD sales (which were held at walmart in conjunction with a significant sale on HD-DVD content). It is looking quite possible that BD group isn't going to respond to this onslaught until it is already too late for them. At least here in NA, once the battle here in NA is done the battle for Europe will start in ernest.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Spuke on 11/8/2007 1:54:26 PM , Rating: 2
The HD-A3 will be available for $170 on black friday which is still a great price.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Locutus465 on 11/8/2007 2:02:16 PM , Rating: 2
Can't complain about that price for a 3rd generation player that's bundled with 2 movies + the 5 you get in the mail for free! Player is almost free with all the extras.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By BansheeX on 11/8/2007 7:43:35 PM , Rating: 1
Link? What are you talking about? Its been all over anandtech for the past week, walmart best but etc... If you must have a link, here you go

You said now. Time machine and rabbit's foot pls.

ignoring the price, which is by far the largest factor to mass appeal.

Indeed... after people get HDTVs with which to take advantage of an HD format, and after many more movies come out to entice people. Both formats are also competing against DVD at the moment. Betamax and VHS never had to deal with an already adopted, still great looking to most people, cheaper, already existing format. Star Wars and LOTR still haven't come out on any HD format. Do you think that if both of those went exclusive to blu-ray, lower player price would still prevail? You need to rethink your logic a little. I don't question the importance of price, nor have I once criticized anyone for choosing HD-DVD. My posts thus far have been to criticize the idea that current player price forecasts a clear HD-DVD victory. It most certainly does not. Heck, if either format paid Warner for title exclusivity tomorrow, it could be the end, and the $200 player price disparity would have jack shit to do with it.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By retrospooty on 11/9/2007 10:50:26 AM , Rating: 2
"Star Wars and LOTR still haven't come out on any HD format. Do you think that if both of those went exclusive to blu-ray, lower player price would still prevail? "

Thats a nice hyothetical question... They are certainly going to be high volume no matter which they come out on, except for the fact that they are both several years old it would be a deciding factor, but most who want them already have them on DVD. Anyhow, what if they both came out out exclusively on HD-DVD? Moot point.

Actually after clicking on your username, I see clearly that you pretty much do almost nothing at AT/DT lately except push the virtues of Sony-PS/3 and Blue Ray.

Post when you have something else to say that isn't fanboyish. This argument is over.


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Locutus465 on 11/20/2007 4:30:15 PM , Rating: 2
Of course amazon already lists LOR HD-DVD ;)


RE: The Break HD-DVD needed
By Locutus465 on 11/8/2007 1:04:32 PM , Rating: 2
Not everyone sees it that way, there are people out there that decided to take advantage of HD-DVD at the $100 price point who don't currently own HD-TV's simply because they see it as more future proof than a normal up-converting DVD player, and a safer bet than Bluray (even if HD-DVD fails you didn't spend any more on the HD-DVD player than you would have on a upconvert dvd player).

True, the $100 price point is a speacial thing at this point, but HD-DVD is about ready to hit a permenant $200 price point, and probably not long after that (some time in '08) and perminent $100 price point. If bluray keeps going at the pace it is you better believe they'll be left in the dust... Once HD-DVD hardware market penetration has a significant enough advantage over Bluray how long will it be before warner and even Disney start to take notice?


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