Published in News
HD DVD players break the US$200 barrier
by David Stellmack on29 October 2007
Available from Circuit City online right now
Speculation has been rampant that Wal-Mart would be the first to offer a HD DVD player for US$200 or less, but it seems that Circuit City has beat them to the punch, at least in the online world, by offering the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player for US$197.99 right now. You can order the player online right now from the Circuit City Web site for the US$197.99 price tag with free shipping, or you can pick it up at your local Circuit City if they happen to have them in stock. Wal-Mart is said to be selling the HD-A2 HD DVD player for $198 starting November 3rd, but some Wal-Mart stores may already have the end cap display up with the new price.
The HD-A2 was launched in December 2006 for a price of US$499 and has already seen two price drops. The HD-A2 was dropped to $399 in April and then to $299 in July. The HD-A2 is part of the current five free HD DVDs promotion, which does give consumers quite a bit of bang for their buck on this second generation HD DVD player. The HD-A2 supports a resolution of 1080i and offers version 1.2 of the HDMI interface. The unit also features the SHARC DSP that supports Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, Dolby TrueHD, DTS 5.1 and DTS HD formats. Reviews of the HD-A2 were generally positive and the features are in step with the third generation units that were announced in August.
Initial reports were that Wal-Mart would attempt to bring in a low cost, sub-$200 HD DVD player for the holiday season. This player was expected to be a cheaply made, low-end model produced in China. It is quite a surprise that the first model HD DVD model to slide in at under US$200 would be a Toshiba. This appears to be quite a victory for the HD DVD camp and if sales of the HD-A2 are strong this could solidify the HD DVD camp’s foothold in the HD format wars. Buying a second generation Toshiba HD DVD unit for less than US$200 with five free movies via mail-in could be just the ticket for those who want HD DVD at a reasonable price.
Don’t be surprised if this becomes one of the must have gifts for this holiday season. However, it remains to be seen whether or not Toshiba will be able to provide enough units if the demand is as high as expected.