Blu-ray player prices congregate at $400 while HD DVD hits rock bottom

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Blu-ray player prices congregate at $400 while HD DVD hits rock bottom

Pricewatch – In the past week we have seen an interesting trend with Blu-ray Disc player prices:  All four of the BD devices we have been tracking all year are now retailing for around $400.  Some of the players came down from well over $400, while the price of others went up. It appears pretty clear that $400 is the current resting place for Blu-ray players.  Meanwhile, HD DVD players have broken the final string and are starting to come down well under $100.

Pricewatch – In the past week we have seen an interesting trend with Blu-ray Disc player prices.  All four of the BD devices we have been tracking all year are now retailing for around $400.

Some of the players came down from well over $400, while the price of others went up. It appears pretty clear that $400 is the current resting place for Blu-ray players.  Meanwhile, HD DVD players have broken the final string and are starting to come down well under $100.

The first thing to point out this week is that Panasonic’s DMP-BD30K player has reached a new record low price for this year.  In fact, this is the first time that the BD30K has dropped in average retail pricing two weeks in a row.

However, it is a completely different story for Samsung’s BD-P1400.  That player reached a new record high price this week.  It has jumped a significant $40 in the past two weeks to an average of $397.

Meanwhile, the Sony BDP-S300 and Sharp BD-HP20U have remained practically uchanged over the past couple weeks.  These numbers are based on Pricegrabber.com average e-tailer prices.

When the above data is charted on a graph, the observation is stunning.  Despite rampant price differences between the four players since January, they are all practically at the exact same price point.  The only product shown here that is out of place is the LG BH200, which is a combo Blu-ray/HD DVD player.

Two weeks ago, we looked at the demand of Blu-ray Disc players by price and found that few were willing to pay above $400 for a BD device, although there was significant activity when they were priced between $350 and $400.

At least for the past couple weeks, the $400 price level has been a veritable magnet for these Blu-ray players, independent from where they had been priced previously.

Based on the fact that the Sony and Sharp players have not changed hardly at all since they hit that price area, it would seem that $400 is pretty much the standard price for Blu-ray players now.

This is an interesting trend, because the most popular Blu-ray playback device, the Playstation 3, is priced right at $400 as well.  The PS3 is also the only BD player that can connect to the Internet to access new features.

Meanwhile, on the HD DVD player side, where there has been very little news recently, we have seen the bottom fall out.  The Toshiba HD-A3 now has an average price of $80, and the number of retailers carrying it is on par with the level we’ve seen over the past month or so.  This is despite the fact that Toshiba expected the players to be cleared out by the end of March.

Now, at $80, the 1080i HD-A3 is priced lower than many upconvert DVD players.  It actually makes the device a good purchase even though the high-def format has died.  Additionally, the 1080p HD-A30 reached a new low price at $122.

Although Blu-ray player prices earlier this year were starting to reach the mainstream, they are continuing to set themselves at an early adopter price level.  With new Blu-ray players coming out soon that will support enhanced BD Live features, it is our expectation that the current Blu-ray models will fall in price fairly quickly as they become mildly obsolete.  

It appears that is the only thing that will drive down Blu-ray prices in the forseeable future.

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