Some Retailers Cut Blu-ray, HD DVD Prices

Despite what some retailers say is a relatively high number of backorders for HD DVD and Blu-ray players among early adopters in the United States, some outlets are reportedly cutting prices as they gear up for this holiday season.

How much early interest exists for DVD units for either format is still an educated guess, amid a lot of hype by both sides in the cutthroat format war. There are no reliable stats on exactly how many next-gen DVD players have been shipped to dealers, nor numbers of units sold yet at the consumer level. (Some retailers report a "tight supply" of players, but such observations, as with other product lines, are often meaningless without knowing how many units are actually being shipped and sold.)

Abt Electronics is selling Toshiba's HD DVD (HD-A1) unit for $437, about $60 under the typical list price of about $500, according to Toshiba's HD-XA1 is selling for $688, or more than $100 below list price. Abt is reporting somewhat slower sales than it expected for the higher priced Blu-ray units, which the retailer did not discount, and is selling for the $999 list price. is offering both players for slightly less than Abt, albeit by third-party sellers. Circuit City prices are running about 10 percent under list price for Samsung Blu-ray units, and the retailer is taking pre-orders for Sony's upcoming Blu-ray player, but did not say how many pre-orders have been filed.

There are also reports that Toshiba will announce its second-generation HD DVD player this week at the CEDIA show in Denver, where Panasonic plans to launch its Blu-ray player.

Best Buy, Tweeter and Crutchfield have not cut prices on HD DVD and Blu-ray players, according to published reports.