It should be no secret that I hate SONY, if it is “I HATE SONY”. There – No more secrets.
My hatred for Sony is what pushed me to the HD-DVD side of the game, and I recently purchased the HD-DVD add on for the 360. Good times. It looks like we’re approaching high noon, and the two will meet in the middle of town to settle this.
Earlier this year the HD DVD camp expressed optimism that this holiday season would prove big for HD DVD, particularly because aggressive pricing was expected to deliver a solid HD DVD player into the sweet sub-$200 spot. It’s widely believed that consumer adoption hinges on the players themselves becoming more affordable, which is why folks were getting excited about reports this past week indicating that Wal-Mart would be rolling out a $198 Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player next weekend.
As it turns out, plenty of retailers are about to get behind a big push for the HD-A2, whose sweet new price is only soured by its 1080i max output (1080p would be best, but at $200 right now, that’s asking too much). Since Toshiba launched its third-generation HD DVD players last August, the second-gen HD-A2 was poised to get a price reduction.
The Wal-Mart plans were first revealed by a user of the eProductWars forum, who also provided a picture of an endcap stocked with $198 players. Wal-Mart won’t confirm when the pricing will be official, but “Jim” from eProductWars indicated that the sale is expected to start next weekend. Nevertheless, we’re hearing from readers who have found the units on sale already, so perhaps Wal-Mart has stepped up the timetable, at least in some regions.
You don’t have to wait for Wal-Mart, Ars has learned. Doing the rounds, we found that Circuit City is selling the HD-A2 for $197.99, both online and in stores. A source at Best Buy tells Ars that a price cut is also planned, but that most stores are out of stock of the unit right now, and they cannot be ordered online. Amazon has the player for a puffier $220. A week ago, the HD-A2 was priced near $299 almost everywhere.
While we all knew that a price reduction in the HD DVD camp was imminent, I don’t think anyone was expecting to see the sub-$200 units come in the form of a Toshiba player, which has for the most part been very well reviewed. Rumors earlier this year suggested that a no-name brand would be the first player to dip into the red zone, like this unit.
Perhaps best of all, the five free HD DVDs promotion is still on, meaning that buyers can score a HD DVD player and five movies for $200. The movie selection isn’t the hottest, though.
Will a quality player available at less than $200 spur adoption of HD DVD? It’s anyone’s guess right now, and it’s still anyone’s game. Seeing the name “Toshiba” on the box will certainly help, though, as it’s a brand that enjoys some consumer confidence (which is important when it comes to the inevitable “is this a piece of junk” question that comes along with such price cuts).