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Toshiba’s HD DVD drops below $ 200



Toshiba’s HD DVD drops below $ 200


A couple of months ago, Venturer Electronics was the first manufacturer to introduce an HD DVD player to the North American market for less than $ 199. Now, for a similar amount, overseas consumers can take home a Toshiba-branded player: it is the HD-A2 a player released last year priced at $ 499.

At the time of writing, Amazon and Circuit City offer the HD-A2 a $ 197.99 which is a hundred dollars less than the current list price.

In Italy, according to some well-known price search engines, the cheapest HD DVD player today is Toshiba’s HD-E1 which is nothing more than the European version of the HD-A2: its price fluctuates between 300 and 350 euros . To grab a Blu-ray player, Italian consumers have to shell out from 100 to 200 euros more, and go to a Sony BDPS300B or a Sharp BDHP20S.

What brought down the price of Toshiba’s players was the recent introduction by the Japanese giant of a new generation of players, all with support for Full HD (1080p). A feature that the HD-A2 lacks , capable of reaching a maximum definition of 1080i: this is a not insignificant gap for a high definition player, but for that price today it really doesn’t get any better. Even Venture’s SHD7000 model doesn’t go beyond the definition of 1920 x 1080 interlaced dots.

On the other hand, US users can still take advantage of a promotion which, launched last spring, entitles them to receive five free movies when purchasing any Toshiba HD DVD player, including the affordable HD-A2.

Including movies in player packaging not only serves to attract consumers, but also to reinforce (or “inflate”, depending on your point of view) the sales statistics of HD titles in a certain format.

Pricing is just one element of the ongoing battle between Blu-ray and HD DVD to conquer the high-definition movie market. If HD DVD benefits above all from the lower cost of production of players and optical media, Blu-ray can count on the support of a greater number of film studios. According to a recent survey, in the USA the ratio of Blu-ray films to HD DVD sold is 2 to 1. As regards the diffusion of players, however, HD DVD seems to do much better.