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Australia: Race Is On to Sell HD for Olympics

The Olympics in Beijing are coming on fast and that provides the latest global opportunity for manufacturers and service providers to convince consumers to make the plunge into HD technology and services.

Down under, Sony is investing nearly $15 million in a giveaway of its PlayStation 3 game consoles—by giving each buyer of its Bravia-brand HD set a free PS3.

And cabler Foxtel (opens in new tab) is teaming up with Samsung to bundle its “HD+” recorders with new Samsung HD sets.

Sony said it will give away 35,000 PS3 consoles, which automatically include internal Blu-ray Disc players.

According to Toby Barbour of Sony Australia, the firm’s promotion is similar in nature to a marketing push eight years ago for the Sydney games, when 16:9 sets (both HD and SD) jumped about 30 percent, he told The Australian.

A live counter on the Sony Web site (opens in new tab) is calculating how many of the 35,000 free consoles are left. (By July 1, about 1,000 consoles had been given away.) So far in 2008, sales of all brands of LCD HD sets in Australia are up about 40 percent over last year.

Broadcast of the Beijing games on the Seven Network will be the first time the entire Olympics will be carried in Australia in HD.