Blu-ray players: Mighty pricey

In the few weeks since Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD, prices for standalone Blu-ray players quickly jumped to a high for the year.

The demise of the HD DVD format has been bad news for both bargain hunters and at least one big-time technology company.

Sony BDP-S300
The Sony BDP-S300 CNET Networks

In the three short weeks since Toshiba announced that it was pulling the plug on the high-definition technology, prices for standalone players using the rival Blu-ray format have been headed north. In fact, as noted by, Blu-ray prices are at their high point for the year, at an average of about $400 apiece for the devices. The Sony BDP-S300, for instance, was just a small mocha latte above that level, at $403 as of Wednesday.

Prices for Blu-ray players had been dipping down to around $300. Just last week, Sony Electronics President Stan Glasgow said that the company would be "at a $300 rate" through this year--and would even hit the $299 mark in 2008. Apparently, though, retail outlets haven't gotten that message just yet. (Glasgow also allowed that the price might reach $200--next year.)

If you're a penny-pincher who's of a mind to buy technology on the endangered species list, you could of course go out and buy a $99 HD DVD player.

You might also do well to heed the advice of TGDaily, which in musing about the Blu-ray price increases is also looking ahead to later this year when Blu-ray players gain some advanced features and the ability to connect to the Internet: "Many of the current Blu-ray manufacturers have announced new players that will support BD Profile 2.0, so my advice would be to buy a PS3 or wait for the next-gen players." (The PlayStation 3 game console offers Blu-ray and Internet connection already. But don't go looking for Blu-ray on the Xbox 360.)

But if you're still buying Blu-ray today and ruing having to shell out a few extra bucks, imagine how Toshiba feels. The consumer electronics giant, a leading backer of HD DVD, could see a whopping $986 million loss in its high-def DVD business for its current fiscal year, according to Japan's Nikkei business daily. Correction: This sentence initially had a "b" instead of an "m" in the dollar value of the loss. The expected loss is $986 million.)

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