Toshiba Says Price Could Make Difference in DVD Wars

"There will be big price differences between both formats that consumers will certainly notice if they compare them," according to Maria Repole, senior manager at Toshiba. She was among Toshiba officials at her firm's current national HD DVD tour of high-end electronics retailers that will end in California in mid-April. Repole spoke with "HD Notebook" last week at a tour stop at a new Myer-Emco store in Fairfax, Va., near Washington, D.C.

Price points do vary quite a bit between both formats' proposed early product lines, with some HD DVD players barely half the cost of some Blu-ray units (see previous story). "HD DVD is a natural transition, technically, from today's DVD standard," Repole said, "and consumers can easily recognize and embrace the new format." (Other Toshiba reps on site also said the name itself, "HD DVD," says more to a typical consumer about what it entails than the term "Blu-ray.")

Blu-ray is an entirely new format, Repole said, requiring manufacturing components and assembly line schemes that must be quite different from today's DVD production or HD DVD's. That's the main reason why HD DVD products will be less costly to manufacture, at least in the early rounds. (Look for more on Toshiba's national tour in the April 12 edition of TV Technology.)