Sony, Sharp offer free Blu-ray players, sorta

Posted by Wolfgang Gruener

Chicago (IL) – The Blu-ray camp has responded to the rather dramatic HD DVD player price cut from last week this weekend: If you purchase certain LCD TV models, Sony and Sharp are throwing in a “free” Blu-ray player.

Price has not been one of the advantages of Blu-ray players so far, but it appears that Sony & Co are beginning to take first shots at Toshiba on this battlefield as well. The ad package in your Sunday newspaper brought two especially interesting flyers – one from Sony and one from Best Buy.



Sony is offering a $400 rebate on the purchase of a LCD TV/Blu-ray player package, which essentially gets you the BDP-S300 for free (we’ll forget the sales tax here). Qualifying TVs are the 46” KDL-46V3000, the 46” KDL-46W3000 and the 52” KDL-52W3000, which carry MSRPs of $2300, $2500 and $3000, respectively. The instant rebate can be used for all of Sony’s current Blu-ray players (excluding the Playstation 3) and is apparently available through all retailers that offer these products.

BestBuy not only advertises this Sony program, but also a similar and time-limited promotion for Sharp TVs and Blu-ray players. Purchasing an Aquos D64-series LCD TV (for prices between $1700 and $3000) allows customers to bag a Sharp BD-HP20U Blu-ray player free of charge. The player usually retails for $500.

Of course, if you own an HDTV and simply want a cheap high-def player, the Toshiba HD DVD units are still the most attractive devices. But you’ll have to be careful what and where you buy: For example, Best Buy offers the entry-level HD-A3 (whose MSRP was dropped to $150 by Toshiba last week) for $300. Most online shops are currently selling this player for about $125.

The Blu-ray promotion includes five free movies; the HD-A3 HD DVD player includes seven or nine free movies, depending on the retailer.