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DVD Players Trounce HD Players on Black Friday

10 Dec, 2007 By: Chris Tribbey

It's not that the week of Black Friday was bad for high-def players. It's just that it was much, much better for DVD.

A DisplaySearch and NPD Group report on high-def set top player sales showed more than 57,000 Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players were sold, not counting an estimated 160,000-170,000 PlayStation 3s. But DVD, especially up-scaling models, remains high-def's biggest competition, with more than 600,000 DVD players flying off shelves.

For high-def, HD DVD's lower price (an average sale price of $210) led it to a 62% share of players sold during the week of Black Friday. However, Blu-ray player sales accounted for 52% of the revenue generated off high-def set tops during the week. In all high-def set-tops accounted for roughly $16.2 million in revenue during the week of Black Friday.

Toshiba made off with the highest high-def unit (62%) and revenue (47%) shares, with Sony (23% of units sold) and Samsung (12%) following behind. Best Buy was responsible for the majority of high-def player sales.

DisplaySearch estimates that by the end of the year, there will be 461,000 Blu-ray players, 678,000 HD DVD players, 2.5 million PS3s and 270,000 Xbox 360 HD DVD add-ons in U.S. households. The research firm's 2008 estimates peg set-top boxes in U.S. homes by the end of 2008 at 4.76 million. According to the report, Blu-ray players could hit as low as $200-$250 for Black Friday 2008, with HD DVD players well under $100. Dual-format players, as in this year, will likely remain a niche product.

DisplaySearch and NPD Group point to cheap up-scaling DVD players as one of the biggest obstacles to high-def's success.

“Up-scaling DVD players currently present a competitive quandary for the hardware companies behind players for both formats,” said Paul Erickson, DisplaySearch's director of DVD and high-def market research. “Currently, up-scaling players capable of 1080i and 1080p resolution are commonly available for less than $100 … The two most significant factors inhibiting adoption of next generation formats are satisfaction with regular DVD and the cost of next generation hardware and software.

“The inexpensive up-scaling player is thus the competitive manifestation of these concerns, and serves as an inexpensive complement to an HDTV purchase.”

Erickson added that in October up-scaling players constituted more than three times the market share of the total DVD player market than high-def, 28% vs. 8%.

“Up-scaling players will soon become the de facto type of DVD player offered beyond the most budget $30 low-end models, and will continue to present problems for Blu-ray and HD DVD adoption as long as the price differential remains in the hundreds of dollars,” he said. “Both formats need to reduce their long-term price differential with up-scaling DVD players to $100 or less to be validly positioned as a step up to high definition that consumers see as affordable.”

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