HD DVD Responds to Warner Rejection with Market Push

Toshiba, after being pummeled by the surprise announcement on the eve of CES by Warner Bros. that the studio was dropping HD DVD for its future titles, and suffering further PR damage by hastily canceling a CES press conference, has responded to its near-death experience in the ongoing next-gen disc wars with a new marketing campaign.
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Toshiba, after being pummeled by the surprise announcement on the eve of CES by Warner Bros. that the studio was dropping HD DVD for its future titles, and suffering further PR damage by hastily canceling a CES press conference, has responded to its near-death experience in the ongoing next-gen disc wars with a new marketing campaign.

HD DVD’s chief proponent, Toshiba, said this week it was lowering MSRP on its entry-level HD DVD player (HD-A3) an additional 25 percent, to about $150, and its next-level player (HD-A30) to $200. Such price points are considerably below most Blu-ray MSRP points, although it doesn’t seem to have made much of a difference in sales—especially when standalone Blu-ray sales are coupled with Sony’s PlayStation game consoles, which come with internal Blu-ray drives.

Faced now with only a pair of major Hollywood studios that have vowed for the moment to continue issuing its content in HD DVD after May, Toshiba said its preferred format nevertheless “experienced record-breaking unit sales” in the final quarter of 2007, and vowed this week to pursue major initiatives—including joint advertising campaigns with studios and extended pricing strategies—“designed to spotlight the superior benefits of HD DVD.”

But don’t blame consumers if they’re especially confused right now: Newsweek, in its Jan. 21 edition, is flatly proclaiming the disc wars over,and it crowned Blu-ray the victor. (The same publication a week earlier, like most others, had predicted Obama beating Clinton in Hampshire by double-digits.)

It’s not over quite yet. Stay tuned.