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HD DVD Launch A Mixed Bag

26 Apr, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Promoters and retailers of HD DVD players and software continue to spin positively about the new format and its impact on consumers since the format's April 18 launch.

Toshiba, which shipped about 15,000 HD DVD players to U.S. retailers at two price points, said sales were upbeat for the lower-priced $499 model.

Best Buy reportedly sold 1,000 players at 733 stores the first day they were on display.

“Initial sales results have been very positive and many key retailers quickly sold out, particularly on the $500 model,” said Toshiba marketing VP Jodi Sally. “We are continuing to make shipments daily to fulfill the demands from our retailers.”

A Circuit City spokesperson said the chain currently did not stock HD DVD hardware or movies but was taking pre-orders for HD DVD hardware on its Web site.

Sacramento, Calif.-based Tower Records said it would soon carry a limited number of HD DVD players and remained committed to the format.

“While we are pressing hard for a single format, Tower will carry both the HD and Blu-ray titles,” stated Rick Timmermans, director of video purchasing & merchandising, Tower Records. “We are currently carrying all available HD titles in most stores and they are also available at Tower.com.”

That said, some analysts believe the spin among retailers and manufacturers might have to substitute for actual sales in the short term.

“People aren't clamoring for the next generation of DVD," Laura Behrens, analyst for Gartner Consulting, told Reuters. “It's too complicated, too expensive, and they don't see the benefits.”

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