When HD-DVD players start retailing at just $98.97, is the battle over for Blu-Ray?
Wal-Mart has recently been selling HD-DVD players for below $100 in a snap sale, and shifted 55,000 Toshiba HD-A2 players. In fact the discounted units were only a few dollars more than standard-def DVD players. And it isn't just the hardware. There are plenty of retailers selling certain HD-DVD and Blu-Ray disks at just $16.99. Amazon and Circuit City both have Toshiba HD-DVD players at below $200 – and according to reports sold 90,000-100,000 units in just two days. The lowest-price Blu-Ray player costs $399 although Best Buy is throwing in $100 "rebates" on units, while others package in five "free" Blu-Ray discs with a player.
The pre-Christmas holiday sales season is seen as being a powerful indicator of which way the consumer will go in the search for higher-quality video entertainment. In terms of US households the numbers are already showing a distinct trend, with Adams Media Research saying there will be 600,000 HD-DVD players in place, and 400,000 Blu-Ray units (all stand-alone) by the end of this year.