Toshiba HD DVD Player Dips below $200

At press time, Circuit City and had begun advertising the Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player on its Web sites for under $200 for the first time, amid numerous online reports that Wal-Mart also will sell the player for under $200 beginning this weekend (Nov. 3)—but only in stores and perhaps with a limit of 18 units per outlet, according to published reports. (Eighteen boxes would be enough to stock an entire typical end-shelf for a specially discounted product at Wal-Mart.)

Circuit City’s Web site indicates a price of $197.99. That would be exactly one penny less than Wal-Mart’s purported price points. However, at press time, Wal-Mart was not offering the HD-A2 player at any new discount online (where it remained at $279.54 late Tuesday, Oct. 30, on its Web site).

This week, was featuring the one-penny-under $198 price for the HD DVD player on its Web site, although early in the week it was requiring online shoppers to click on a special link for an explanation of why it is not displaying the special discounted price on the disc player’s main page. That explanation under a heading of “Why Don’t We Show the Price,” read, in part:

“Manufacturers sometimes ask that retailers not display a price if it drops below a certain amount. The ‘click here to see price’ message indicates that the price of the item is so low that the manufacturer requested that it not be advertised (that is, displayed). In a brick-and-mortar store, you would probably have to ask a salesperson what the price of the product is…”

Whether the under-$200 price points will continue into the holiday-selling season next month (and whether the Blu-ray Disc camp will make a counter offer) are yet to be determined.

Also, late Tuesday, details were beginning to emerge about a new Blu-ray player from Panasonic that is likely coming this holiday season (model DMP-BD30), which will be 1080p. No price points were spotted yet in early data.