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A laser blue for less than two

I’ve been participating in some debate recently regarding the possibility that the HD-DVD camp will have a $199 player available for the holidays. It’s been fascinating to see the HD-DVD camp play price against big brand selection.

A sub-$200 HD-DVD player could happen by that time frame, at least for Black Friday promotions. I have some doubts that such a low price would create a significant advantage as hi-def optical is still catering mostly to videophiles at this point. Content selection will still be limited by the holiday but having a hot franchise like The Matrix, which was such a juggernaut for DVD, will certainly help. Me? I’m holding out for Gigli.

One colleague argues that it’s never too early to play the price card, and I’m sure we’ll see a unit jump. At $199, HD-DVD could become a discretionary second player for home theater enthusiasts bought into Blu-ray but not necessarily convinced that it will win or unwilling to wait out the war. But low-priced purchases represent a low investment. It won’t take long before the content libraries represent more of the total format investment than the player. Having a larger installed base of HD-DVD players out there will certainly prolong the war and pacify Universal, but I’ve still yet to speak to anyone in the industry who believes that two formats are sustainable over the long-term.