As prices on Blu-ray players come down, HD-DVD players suddenly aren't looking as inexpensive.

According to Video Business, the "sales gap" between "HD-DVD players and Blu-ray Disc players" appears to be getting closer "as the two formats have come closer in price."

It seems that at such stores as "Ultimate Electronics and Abt Electronics, Toshiba's second-generation players are still the best-selling individual models, but collectively, Blu-ray players have been outselling HD-DVD Toshiba models in recent weeks."

Ultimate Electronics first saw things start to change "in June when Sony rolled out Blu-ray's cheapest set-top player to date, the $499 BDP-S300."

"It's a slight lead, not a huge margin, but we expected this to happen as [Ultimate] is selling three HD-DVD players, versus five Blu-ray players. There is a depth point of view now," said Ultimate director of merchandising for video, Matt Duda. "But there is no single Blu-ray player overtaking Toshiba's models."

Trying to help the HD-DVD front, in May "Toshiba offered a round of promotional price cuts on its players, spurring enough sales to make the changes permanent since July. Its entry player is $299; mid-line, $399; and top-line, $799."

"Unit sales of Toshiba's HD DVD players grew 200% in Q2 versus Q1, indicating that price continues to be an important factor in consumers' purchases," stated VP of marketing at Toshiba America Consumer Products, Jodi Sally.

Presently, "according to NPD Group, HD-DVD set-tops dominated the market in the second quarter, with a 61% market share, compared to 36% for Blu-ray."

"With all of the introductions of Blu-ray product, we have seen more sales in BD than in HD-DVD, because there are so many options now out for consumers," offered "John Abt, VP at Illinois bricks-and-mortar and national online dealer Abt Electronics."

Some think that "Blu-ray sales might even be performing better, if not for currently limited supplies of some of the format's relatively inexpensive offerings."

There seems to be a bottleneck of sorts with companies like Ultimate "waiting on its first shipment of Panasonic's latest $599 second-generation model, which started streeting to retailers in June-July. San Antonio's Bjorn's cannot meet customer demand of Sony's $499 BDP-S300."

According to Bjorn when they did have the Sony player last June, "we were seeing a 50/50 split in unit sales," stated president Bjorn Dybdahl. "That was primarily all three Toshiba players versus Sony's $499 players. If the Blu-ray group wants to put a death knell on HD DVD, then they need to get it everywhere very quickly."

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs