Monday, January 14, 2008

HD DVD player prices plummet (

By Mark Raby

Last week's CES was supposed to be an opportunity for the fledgling HD DVD to prove itself, but outside circumstances led to it being more of a death knell for the format, and now player prices are less than half of their respective pre-holiday MSRPs.

On Amazon, Toshiba's HD-A3 player is now priced at under $135, a new non-sale low. The A3 is Toshiba's current low-end model and does not offer full 1080p high definition output (its maximum is 1080i).

Toshiba's HD-A30, its least expensive device to offer 1080p playback, now has a suggested retail price of around $200. Before CES, it was $400, and at retailers like Amazon and Sam's Club, the price has dipped even lower, to around $180.

Just one day before much of the electronics community headed down for the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Warner Bros announced it was ditching HD DVD in support of backing Blu-ray exclusively. Sister companies HBO and New Line followed suit shortly thereafter.

At CES, the HD DVD booth sat meekly behind a glorious Blu-ray booth and garnered very little attention. Nearly every company with Blu-ray ties snuck in some way to slam HD DVD, while those connected to the failing format tried to get by without commenting on the format war. This could be the start of a slew of "fire sales", marking the beginning of the end for the unfortunate format.