Ah, the art of blogging. Today, AOL's Engadget reported that according to some alleged retail insiders who frequent the AVS Forum message boards, the much-rumored price drop on HD DVD players is about to become a reality. According to said blogger, on April 1 the HD-A2 will be repriced at $399 MSRP (down from $499) and the $799 HD-XA2 will also shed $100. That all may be true, but the fact is a quick check over at Amazon would reveal that the price cuts are already in effect. The HD-A2 is $356.99 and the HD-XA2 is sitting at a cool $599.99.
Lazy reporting aside (we are all guilty of it at one time or another), the big question is whether the price cuts will actually make a serious difference. At this point, the majority of sales of next-gen DVD players appear tied to the game consoles (the PS3 has a built-in Blu-ray, and the XBox 360 has an add-on HD DVD player for $200), and neither format stands to make big gains in the standalone market until the players get down below $250--and maybe even less.
I don't want to call Toshiba desperate, but when it's offering five free HD DVD movies with the purchase of a player, that sounds like the company is having trouble enticing folks to buy in. (If my memory serves, in the early days of DVD, some companies were offering three free DVDs, but not as many as five.) It also doesn't help when the New York Post is writing articles that quote analysts saying retailers will be pulling the plug on HD DVD in 2008. True, it's the Post. But people make a bad habit of believing what they read.