Red Sees … Well, Red

Oh, yeah, it's onWell, that didn’t take long.

More than a little miffed at being declared the loser in the high-def format war by various industry pundits, the HD DVD format is rallying for one last kick at the cheaper-than-Blu-ray can.

EngadgetHD reports this morning that Toshiba has dramatically reduced the list prices on all three of its players:The entry-level HD-A3 model now carries a retail price of $149, while the A30 is going for $199 and the high-end A35 is $299.

This is not a sale; this is the new retail pricing. Which means dealers may, and will, sell for less. And yes, “300” and “The Bourne Identity” are included with every player, and the mail-in promotion for five additional discs is still going. So, once again, the A3 is basically free once you factor in the value of the discs, and even the top-of-the-line A35 can be had for $100 less than a PlayStation 3.

Also, has just announced its latest HD DVD sale, knocking 50% off the list price of several dozen Universal and Paramount titles … including one of of my very guiltiest pleasures.

Honestly, though? I think it’s too late to turn things around. Even if it isn’t Toshiba’s intention, people will interpret the repricing of the players as a fire sale, and my first thought upon scanning Amazon’s selection of sale discs was whether it meant the company had lost faith in the format, or whether it means Universal and Paramount are poised to announce these specific titles in their first Blu-ray waves.

I mean, why reprice “The Chronicles of Riddick” but not “Pitch Black“, unless you know something’s up with the former and not the latter?

2 thoughts on “Red Sees … Well, Red”

  1. Norm, are you declaring yourself an industry pundit even though you’ve only owned a Blu-ray player for a few weeks and an HD DVD player not at all? 🙂

    I don’t know whether HD DVD’s end is near or not, but it’s worth pointing out that the Amazon sale is not just for HD DVD. They’re doing the exact same thing for Blu-ray right now:

    And not just here, but in their UK site as well. This doesn’t even mention the nearly constant buy-one-get-one-free sales that the Blu-ray camp have been offering for a few months straight.

    If anything, this just speaks for the overall poor sales of both formats. Despite misleading sales percentage statistics to the contrary (a 2:1 victory, hurrah!), the actual number of units sold for each format have been much closer than anyone wants to admit. Both are a pathetic fraction of DVD sales.

    Big titles like Transformers and The Bourne Ultimatum have outsold comparable Blu-ray tentpole releases such as Spider-Man 3, and Harry Potter 5 was barely a 55/45 split between the formats.

    The Warner news has certainly hurt HD DVD and may well kill it, but that has nothing to do with actual sales. It’s purely corporate politics. Warner got a better offer from Blu-ray than they did from HD DVD, and that was that.

  2. Both are a pathetic fraction of DVD sales.

    Why this is surprising is beyond me. High-definition DVD players are only useful on high-end big-screen televisions, and you can get an upconverting DVD player that will make your plain-old DVDs look hey-presto-nearly-as-awesome on said big-screen televisions for half the price of even a newly discounted HD-DVD player.

    Plus, plain-old DVDs cost a buttload less than high-def DVDs, be they Blu-Ray or HD-DVD. And when the North American economy is trotting steadily downwards, people aren’t going to spend fifty bucks to see the shitty Transformers movie in awesome hi-def TO THE EXTREEEEEM, even assuming they own the damn big-screen TV that you need to get the benefits of hi-def in the first place.

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