Toshiba may have taken a huge hit recently, but the HD DVD supporter is striking back.
Barely a week after Warner Bros., of which Toshiba is a primary supporter, the company announced it is lowering the prices on all three models of next-generation DVD players.
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, lowering its prices and offering popular promotions, like 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."