Retailers: HD-DVD players nearly sold out

May 21, 2006

HD-A1According to Video Business Online as of last Friday many retailers reported having sold out of Toshiba’s HD-A1 HD-DVD player. The total number of HD-DVD players shipped is said to be between 10,000 and 15,000 units, which includes the HD-A1 ($499) and HD-XA1 ($799) models.

Although it’s hard to pin down the exact numbers of HD-A1’s sold, a contact at a local distributor told me that the HD-A1 accounted for a large chunk of the initial 10-15k players shipped.

I think this goes to show the publics interest in pre-recorded HD content. Naturally several retailers reported better on-hand stock for the more expensive HD-XA1, which retails for the aforementioned $799, which brings me to the real point here.

If Toshiba is easily selling the HD-A1 at $499 but the XA1 at $799 isn’t quite as popular, what could this mean for a player that will retail at $999? That’s right; Sony will have no $499 answer to HD-A1 at launch, Sony’s BDP-S1 Blu-ray player will list for $999.

Obviously we’re still too early in the process to call the eventual winner in the format war but considering the animosity expressed for the PS3’s (touted as Blu-ray’s killer-app) announced price, I think we can safely say that price will play a factor here, how big a factor remains to be seen.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HD-DVD


Comments

  • Josh

    Thanks for the info. I don’t have an HD-DVD player and was going off of what I had read.

    That’s a good sign that Toshiba is responding to some weaknesses and releasing firmware to update the players already.

    While I agree the majority of people buying a PS3 won’t watch movies primarily, I think that the number of people that do could very well equal the number of people that bought an HD-DVD player by the beginning of 2007.

    The interesting thing is like the PS2, the PS3 supports a new video format at the time of launch. Unlike the PS2, the PS3 is priced 50% cheaper than a stand-alone BRD player.

    Either way, it will be very interesting how this all plays out.

  • Josh

    Thanks for the info. I don’t have an HD-DVD player and was going off of what I had read.

    That’s a good sign that Toshiba is responding to some weaknesses and releasing firmware to update the players already.

    While I agree the majority of people buying a PS3 won’t watch movies primarily, I think that the number of people that do could very well equal the number of people that bought an HD-DVD player by the beginning of 2007.

    The interesting thing is like the PS2, the PS3 supports a new video format at the time of launch. Unlike the PS2, the PS3 is priced 50% cheaper than a stand-alone BRD player.

    Either way, it will be very interesting how this all plays out.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Josh,

    I have a HD-A1 and my longest load time was well under a minute. Basically from the time I put the disc in the tray and walk back over to the couch, the disc is almost ready.

    Does it take longer to load than a standard DVD? Absolutely but it’s far from a day I assure you :)

    Toshiba has already pushed out the first firmware update for XA1 in Japan, “Disc efficiency” was touted as one of the fixes, we should start seeing those firmware updates here shortly.

    Your example infers that the average PS3 buyer would even know how long it takes for a HD-DVD to load, I’d argue that will be a very small margin.

    The overwhelming majority of people looking to buy a PS3 won’t be doing so to watch movies.

  • B.Greenway

    Hey Josh,

    I have a HD-A1 and my longest load time was well under a minute. Basically from the time I put the disc in the tray and walk back over to the couch, the disc is almost ready.

    Does it take longer to load than a standard DVD? Absolutely but it’s far from a day I assure you :)

    Toshiba has already pushed out the first firmware update for XA1 in Japan, “Disc efficiency” was touted as one of the fixes, we should start seeing those firmware updates here shortly.

    Your example infers that the average PS3 buyer would even know how long it takes for a HD-DVD to load, I’d argue that will be a very small margin.

    The overwhelming majority of people looking to buy a PS3 won’t be doing so to watch movies.

  • Josh

    I think price will definitely play a factor especially since the PS3 will be in stores just in time for the holidays. Performance will also play a big part in this battle. For example, will the PS3 have the same DRM issues as the 1st generation of HD-DVD players? Will a buyer be willing to pay a little more for a PS3 so they don’t have to wait until the next morning for a movie to start? I’m not saying that the PS3 will be faster than the Toshiba player when loading movies. But if it is, that could be a strong determinant.

  • Josh

    I think price will definitely play a factor especially since the PS3 will be in stores just in time for the holidays. Performance will also play a big part in this battle. For example, will the PS3 have the same DRM issues as the 1st generation of HD-DVD players? Will a buyer be willing to pay a little more for a PS3 so they don’t have to wait until the next morning for a movie to start? I’m not saying that the PS3 will be faster than the Toshiba player when loading movies. But if it is, that could be a strong determinant.