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Black Friday Bringing Holiday Joy to Video Bargain Hunters

26 Nov, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner

While Wal-Mart appeared to have taken its cutthroat home entertainment pricing down a notch for Black Friday (Nov. 26) this year, others were jumping in with hotly competitive pricing on DVD and game software and hardware to kick off the holiday shopping season.

Although there is no guarantee that the deals posted in advance on Fatwallet.com’s Web site for bargain hunters will materialize, only one of the deals VSM found listed there last year was not available in the store for Black Friday 2003.

The site has been threatened or sued for advance postings and forced to remove some of them for the past two years, which might be a testament to the accuracy of its information. Or not.

In any case, deals posted on the site promise some real entertainment bargains for shoppers willing to brave lines and crowds to get what they want.

Best Buy was expected to come out of the gate with a slate of $9.99 DVDs, reportedly including Aladdin, Chappelle’s Show Season One, Mean Girls, Man on Fire and The Day After Tomorrow — plus the first season of “Will & Grace” for $12.99.

Target was not to be outdone with a variety of TV DVD boxed sets priced at $17.77. Those sets were reportedly to include “South Park,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” season seven, “Dawson’s Creek” season four; “Family Guy” seasons one and two, and The Simpsons Season 4. Costco was also big on TV DVD, advertising titles from Fox and WB for $27.99 per box.

Toys “R” Us was offering 35 percent off selected DVDs, which were expected to include Disney titles like Aladdin, Mulan, Mickey’s Twice Upon a Christmas and Pirates of the Caribbean, and 50 percent off all Nickelodeon VHS titles.

Wal-Mart’s only advertised software special — confirmed with Monday delivery on the Black Friday ad — was a “Special Buy DVD Assortment” of studio catalog titles like You’ve Got Mail and The Client for $3.88. The world’s largest retailer also wasn’t shy with hardware prices, offering a Polaroid 7-inch portable DVD player for $139.84, a Symphonic DVD player for $27.87, a Symphonic 20-inch flat-screen TV/DVD combo for $139.92 and a Venturer two-screen DVD player system for $199.73. Perhaps the best deal at Wal-Mart was Hasbro’s proprietary black-and-white children’s minidisc system, VideoNow, for $20. The chain was also expected to offer Nintendo’s Game Boy Advance for $39.93.

Target reportedly planned to offer a progressive-DVD player for $28.88; a Kawasaki 8.4-inch portable DVD player with a car kit at $179.99; and a Kawasaki digital home theater system with a five-DVD changer at $174.44.

Best Buy was on track to win the prize for the lowest-priced DVD player yet, offering a Norcent player for $17.99. The chain was also expected to offer an Apex progressive-scan DVD player for $19.99.

Costco and CompUSA were both expected to offer 7-inch portable DVD players for $149.99.

Grocer Meijer was reportedly to offer Hasbro’s VideoNow color player for $39.94; the Apex 5-inch portable player for $88.77; the regular Apex DVD player for $18.77; and the Apex DVD/VCR combo player for $69.77.

On the video game front, Target was set to get aggressive with bundles, including the Xbox System with NCAA Football 2005, Top Spin and Crimson Sky for $149.99; the Sony PS2 System with a free Corvette game for $149.99; and the Game Boy Advance SP with a free Spider-Man 2 game for $79.99. In software, the chain had older but still popular games like Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS2) for $13.44 and Halo for Xbox at $23.44.

Toys “R” Us was offering games galore, such as a PS2 Value Pack bundle including the console, Tony Hawk Underground 2 and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for $219.97; and a Game Boy Advance SP system with a Cartoon Network bundle for $79.95. The toy vendor, which last year faulted Wal-Mart’s deep discounts on games as a reason its game sales were suffering, was reportedly to offer select Game Boy Advance titles like Battlebots and Namco Museum for $9.97 each and a buy-two-get-one-free deal on all Game Boy Advance cartridges.

Kmart was reportedly offering select PS2 games for $7.99 each (limit two), and KB Toys was lining up game deals, including the Game Boy Advance SP system for $49.99 with a $100 purchase; and titles for the system, including Midnight Club Street Racing, Need for Speed Underground and The Muppets for $7.99 each. KB was also expected to be blowing out its Sony PS One consoles for $49.99 each.

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