updated 08:35 am EST, Mon January 14, 2008
Toshiba HD DVD Price Cuts
Toshiba today began the first week after CES with a major cut to its HD DVD player prices. The electronics firm is now set to reduce the normal price of the 1080i-only HD-A3 player in half from $300 to $150; the 1080p-capable HD-A30 and HD-A35 will be available for $200 and $300 respectively. The drop has allegedly been made as price is a "deal-breaker" for a mainstream audience and because HD DVD has a significant marketshare; about 50 percent of the HD movie player business and 80 percent of HD-capable notebooks belong to HD DVD, Toshiba claims. However, it is unclear whether the company has included sales of Sony's PlayStation 3 console, which ships with Blu-ray but has historically been excluded by the HD DVD Promo Group as it is not a dedicated movie player.
Advertising for HD DVD will also be stepped up to emphasize the format, Toshiba says, and should include new promos such as free movie bundles.
While officially claimed as a reflection of the popularity of HD DVD, the move is already considered an attempt to shore up the format after the loss of Warner Bros. movies. Warner's shift from producing in both formats to Blu-ray alone has left HD DVD with just Paramount and Universal as its major supporters, both of which account for only 30 percent of all HD movies on offer. The move was sufficiently damaging as to force the HD DVD Promotional group to postpone and then ultimately cancel its CES keynote.
Notably, Toshiba's announcement stresses HD DVD's role as a conventional DVD player rather than its native format, noting that it produces "near high definition picture quality" by upscaling video over an HDMI connection.