by Pravin on Sunday, October 28th, 2007 in news, players, shopping.
Early adopters and gadget geeks might pay any price for new technology, but these products become way more attractive to the ordinary consumer only when the pricing becomes more reasonable. The march to a $150 HD DVD player has begun, and it’s just the first part of the inevitable journey to a $99 machine around Christmas 2008.
Last week’s HD DVD player pricing news was that Walmart would start selling the HD-A2 for $198 on November 3. Pictures of some Walmart aisles prominently displaying the price and players came out, and just days later we found out that Circuit City had already started offering the same player for a penny less at $197.99. Next up, Amazon.com decided to join the fray and is now offering the HD-A2 at $197.99 too.
There are also reports that Costco is offering their equivalent HD DVD player (the warehouse stores get the same thing but with their own model number) for $199. This is a sweet deal because Costco’s version includes an HDMI cable, which might save you at least $20-$40, depending on how you buy your cables. I’m sure pictures and verification are forthcoming on that one. If you’re not a Costco member, then you’ll have to factor in the additional cost to join, so this deal might not work for everybody.
Some might point out that these prices are on the HD-A2 model, which has been replaced by the HD-A3 for the 2008 lineup. Though it has the same “5 free movies” deal as the other HD DVD players, it does not include 300 and The Bourne Identity like its replacement. One response is that at the price difference between an A2 for $200 and the A3, you can go ahead and buy those movies on your own.
That response was good enough until just a short while ago when a couple of sites started reporting on a leaked “Black Friday” advertisment book from Sears. If everything is accurate (click here to go to the site with the entire PDF), it appears that Sears will be offering the HD-A3 for $169.99 from 5AM to noon on the day after Thanksgiving.
That’s the $299 HD-A3 folks, at a $170 promotional price in just about a month from now. It’s not the new, regular price for that player, but it does show that we are headed into the next major phase of the HD DVD deployment strategy where the price difference starts to get exploited in a big way. If the A3 can be $170 for just half a day, then we can expect at least a few more promotions where the A2 might be about the same or less, and other astonishing deals from all the usual sources on the A3.
All that remains now is for the cost of movies to come down by at least $5 or $10 across the board. I’ve already seen many movies at or near $20, but I’m sure they’d be flying off the shelves at $12 to $15. It’s up to the studios to decide this pricing, and they might be nudged to take up this kind of action once they realize their installed base is characterized by ordinary folks who only got in because the players were so cheap, instead of early adopters and fans who’d put up with high prices.