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Toshiba Strikes Back in HD DVD/Blu-ray Battle

Posted by: Cliff Edwards on January 14, 2008

Looks like Toshiba isn’t going to give up the high-definition format war without a fight.
The only major CE manufacturer supporting HD DVD announced today that it will slash the price of its entire line by up to 50% as the company fights to keep the format alive against a surging Blu-ray consortium of manufacturers and participating studios.
Toshiba suffered a serious blow to HD DVD’s viability earlier this month after Warner Bros. announced it would exclusively release high definition titles to Blu-ray by mid-year. Industry insiders say Universal Studios and Paramount also are wavering and could end their exclusive HD DVD support within weeks.
To keep those studios from defecting, Toshiba says it will step up consumer marketing with its studio partners to advertise its players now selling for as low as $149 for the entry-level 1080-interlaced model, going up to $399 for the top-of-range 1080 progressive player.
Besides the considerable loss Toshiba still be taking selling the players well below cost, the move could cut both ways with retailers. Many of the big names are likely to be drawing up plans to clear out HD DVD inventory amid expectations that Blu-ray will become the industry standard. The Toshiba fire sale could accelerate the process and keep the company from introducing three new models it showed at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
Of course, Toshiba is betting that if it can triple or quadruple sales in a few weeks, studios and retailers may again waver.
But will enough consumers bite on a format that is looking more and more attractive as a high-end player for upconverting standard definition DVDs instead of showcasing high-def movies?

Reader Comments


January 14, 2008 6:04 PM

Your last point is perhaps the most prophetic. As street prices drop closer to the $100 mark, I would view the Toshiba A3 as an excellent value for an good upconverting dvd that happens to play HD DVD movies. Why spend $100 on a Sony upconverting dvd, when the Toshiba is essentially the same price and comes with two hd dvds. I do think that HD DVD is toast, but if I am not ready to fork over $350 for a bluray, why not drop $100 on an A3 and pick up a couple of hd dvd titles (at prices that will probably be slashed too) and bid my time until bluray's drop below $200. I think I represent the bulk of most consumers that are not interested in being early adopters of a new technology.


January 17, 2008 11:49 AM

Toshiba knows it lost and is now going to halt manufacturing and unload inventory on the consumer and see what happens. Dont buy it!

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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