Toshiba cuts HD DVD player prices

Despite a Warner Bros. setback, the HD DVD maker vows to renew its efforts marketing the hi-def video players.

Toshiba may have taken a huge hit recently, but the HD DVD supporter is striking back.

Barely a week after Warner Bros. announced it would no longer put out movies on the HD DVD format , of which Toshiba is a primary supporter, the company announced it is lowering the prices on all three models of next-generation DVD players.

Toshiba HD-A3
Toshiba will now sell its entry-level HD DVD player for $149.99. CNET Networks

The entry-level model, the HD-A3, now goes for $149.99, the HD-A30 for $199.99, and the HD-A35 for $299.99. That's about $150 to $200 worth of discounts on all models.

The new pricing from Toshiba is well-timed, according to Paul Erickson, director of DVD and HD market research for The NPD Group. Holiday promotional pricing is essentially over for all the major manufacturers of rival disc format Blu-ray, as well as other HD DVD makers.

"For them to drop MSRPs now couldn't come at a better time," he said. "It was a gap Blu-ray was able to close down upon during holiday sales."

In the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray, HD DVD's primary advantage from the very beginning had been cheaper prices on players. But Blu-ray has responded , lowering its prices and offering popular promotions, like Wal-Mart's giveaway of 10 Blu-ray titles with the purchase of a Sony PlayStation 3 this past holiday. But preferences over one format or the other aside, price is and probably always will be the determining factor in sales.

"The larger challenge for both camps is twofold: getting the hardware into people's homes. Toshiba did very well selling $99 and $199 players (during the holidays), but that didn't necessarily translate into a big jump in movie (sales)," said Erickson. "Unless there are serious promotions going on...people aren't going out and buying in explosive numbers on the Blu-ray side either."

"Even if we promote a single format...people are still not going to pay three to four times as much for a player, they're not going to pay double the price for movies," Erickson said, "just because they're accustomed to much cheaper pricing on standard-def DVD."

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur. E-mail Erica.

 

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