Toshiba’s HD DVD battles Blu-ray, lowers price

a.jpgToshiba said Monday that it would launch an aggressive advertising campaign to promote its HD DVD players and slash prices about 50 percent by offering entry-level players that initially cost 300 U.S. dollars for about 150 dollars.

Toshiba made the move in response to a series of setbacks related to Sony’s Blu-ray.

“The HD camp is doubling down,” said tech analyst Roger Kay at Endpoint Technologies Associates. “Toshiba has to sell as many as they can — to populate the world with HD DVD players and maybe win back the studios.”

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray can display higher-quality video than traditional DVDs. Blu-ray is arguably the more advanced technology, but HD DVD was out first and often costs less. Retailer Best Buy on Monday was offering Blu-ray players for 400 dollars to 1,000 dollars and HD DVD players for 150 dollars to 1,000 dollars.

The two formats are not compatible, which means an HD DVD usually won’t work in a Blu-ray player. Many movie studios have released films in both formats, an inconvenience that forces them to carry twice as much inventory.

That’s why one format is expected to win out. Toshiba has support from studios including Universal Home Video, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG. But Blu-ray’s backers include 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney and Lionsgate Entertainment.

What’s more, Microsoft’s Xbox video game system and some Toshiba laptops can play only HD DVD. Sony’s PlayStation 3 video game system and some of its laptops can play only Blu-ray.

Toshiba is hoping lower prices will help it hang on. Price can be “a deal breaker for the mainstream consumer,” Toshiba Vice President Yoshi Uchiyama said in a statement.

Leave a Reply

You can use these XHTML tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>