Amazon isn’t picking sides in the format war – they just want your money. But now they’re giving you more for your dollar.
They’re currently running specials on the Sony PlayStation3 and on Toshiba HD DVD players. Buy a 60GB or 80GB PS3 or a Toshiba HD-A2, HD-A20, or HD-XA2 and get eight free movies with your purchase (Blu-ray or HD DVD, respectively, of course). The PS3 deal is even better than that. You get the PS3 and the free movies for less than the cost of the PS3! The discount is applied at checkout, and I don’t know if something is broken or what, but I tested it by putting the 60GB PS in in my cart for $499.99, and three movies each $20.95. But at checkout there are two promotions applied – one for $62.85, the cost of the three movies as expected, but also another one for $20.95. So the total came to $479.04 – less than the price of the PS3 alone! No such luck on the HD DVD deal, though the HD-A2 is discounted from the MSRP of $299.99 to just $238.88, so no reason to complain really.
Basically, Amazon is giving you three free movies at the time of purchase, and then you use the five-free movie mail in offers that both camps are currently running for the other five – for a total of 8. See Amazon for the PS3/Blu-ray offer or the Toshiba/HD DVD offer.
And in related news, Canadian CE vendor Venturer (no, I’d never heard of them either) has announced that they plan to bring a “low-cost” HD DVD player to the market in time for the holidays. The unit is the SHD7000.
While the company is based out of Ontario, the player is manufactured by their Chinese manufacturing partner. In other words, they just OEM boxes from Chinese vendors like countless other brands. Going by their website this is a company that currently has *one* DVD player, and it is a VHS/DVD recorder combo box.
They don’t provide many details on the box – like the actual price. But the basic specs sound a lot like the Toshiba HD-A2, Toshiba’s lowest-end box with 1080i output. (As opposed to 1080p of the higher level units.) The products on their website have links to Wal*Mart Canada for purchase, so that might be a tip as to where we might expect to find this HD DVD deck for sale. Of course, Walmart.ca only actually has one of their products. And Walmart.com only has two of their products – and they’re both out of stock. So maybe not.
Without a price, other thanretail prices expected to be one of the lowest among entry-level HD DVD players, there isn’t much real news here aside from the basic news of another vendor joining Toshiba, RCA and Onkyo making dedicated HD DVD players. Since Toshiba is widely expected to push the MSRP of their forthcoming HD-A3 even lower (I’m betting on $199.99), the Venturer box would have to be less than that to be worth buying. Given the little they’ve announced on the features, they’d have to have a significant price advantage to woo buyers from a known brand like Toshiba.
That’s one place where Toshiba’s aggressive subsidizing of HD DVD players can hurt them. They’ve artificially driven the price point for entry level HD DVD players so low that it discourages other vendors from entering the market at the low end. It is hard to make a profit while still being competitive with Toshiba’s players without cutting a lot of corners. And Toshiba certainly doesn’t want poor quality players on the market tarnishing HD DVD’s reputation either.
Hat tip to EngadgetHD.