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The Price Is the Thing for HD DVD Backers

8 Aug, 2006 By: Stephanie Prange

At Monday's Entertainment Media Expo, HD DVD backers stressed the more attractive price of the format versus competitor Blu-ray Disc.

Ken Graffeo, EVP of Universal Studios Home Entertainment, pointed to the $500-priced Toshiba HD DVD player — half the price of Blu-ray's initial model — as a strong selling point for the format. The lower-priced Toshiba player is outselling the Toshiba “step-up” version — at $1,000 — by 5-to-1 (in part attributed to the fact that the pricier model has a much more limited distribution), said Jodi Sally, VP of digital and AV marketing for Toshiba.

Backers also countered Blu-ray's boost in the fourth quarter from the PlayStation 3 — a lower cost option than current Blu-ray players — with a less-pricey gaming alternative. The HD DVD add-on drive for Xbox 360 will be here for the holidays, and it will be the cheapest entry point to high-definition for consumers, touted Kevin Collins, senior program manager for HD DVD for Microsoft. While he wouldn't put a price on the add-on, he seemed to intimate that it (combined with the price of an Xbox 360) would beat the price of a PlayStation 3.BR>
While it is certainly a consideration, I'm just not sure price is the most important factor in early adoption of new technology. We're not talking Wal-Mart shoppers here. When my tech-savvy husband shops for HDTVs, for instance, it's a combination of price and quality that he considers. He's willing to pay more for the right TV. While it may be a Wal-Mart world in most things, I'm just not sure that it's that way in the beginning of a new technology.

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