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HD DVD Camp Crows About Player Penetration

7 Nov, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

The HD DVD camp is glowing over reports that the temporary price cut of the entry-level Toshiba HD DVD player is pushing U.S. household penetration toward the 500,000-unit mark.

Industry sources say that in the three days after Wal-Mart lowered the price of the second-generation HD-A2 player to less than $100, the big discount chain sold 60,000 units. Other chains that matched the price, both in stores and online, brought the total sold to nearly 100,000 units. Add that to the estimated 320,000 dedicated HD DVD players already in homes, and total household penetration is at about 420,000 units — a number format backers expect will exceed 500,000 units by the end of this month.

The Toshiba player previously sold for the list price of $299, but then Wal-Mart and other retailers a few days before Halloween went down to below $200 and, on Nov. 2, $99.

On the Blu-ray side, the cheapest stand-alone players — from Sony, Samsung and Sharp — list for $499, with Amazon.com selling the Sony BDP-5300 for $439, the Samsung BD-P1400 for $405 and the Sharp Aquos BDHP20U for $414. All three are 1080p, while the Toshiba HD-A2 is 720p/1080i. The PlayStation 3, which also plays Blu-ray discs, lists as low as $399. It's $389 at Wal-mart.

This week, the HD-A2 is back up to $199 on Wal-Mart's Web site, with a mail-in offer for five free HD DVD movies. The Sony BDP-S300 is $449 and comes with seven free movies.

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