This past weekend showed us quite an interesting turn of events in this format war. First on Friday, Wal-Mart "announced" a secret Friday sale of the Toshiba HD-A2 for $98.97. Stores across the nation had between 12 and 40 units (of an older stock of the HD-A2) and sold out within 30 to 60 minutes of store opening at 90% of all store locations.
Next, other retailers like Crutchfield, Circuit City, and Best Buy followed suit by announcing their $99 deals on the HD-A2. Like Wal-mart, these stores sold out the HD-A2 by mid-day Friday.Taking it even further, Best Buy shocked many consumers by offering the Toshiba HD-A3 for $199 with 2 HD titles in the box, 2 free in-store at checkout, and 5 titles via the mail-in rebate.
About 2 hours after the posting of this news, the Best buy online warehouse was in backorder status and half the locations nearest a consumer were sold out of the HD-A3. By nightfall, Best Buys all over the nation were sold out online and in-store. While the sale should have lasted 2 days, the shortage of the units in supply made the sale last less than 12 hours. (Although, if you were lucky enough to find a stray unit you could still purchase the HD-A3 from Best Buy on Saturday for $199).
Not to be out done, Circuit City dropped the price on the HD-A3 on Friday to $199 as well. However, they did not offer the 2-free instore HD DVD titles (just the 2 in the box and the 5 via mail). Of course, news spread quickly and the A3 was sold out at Circuit City in about the same amount of time as it was at Best Buy.
It seems that the magic price point was found...$199! Consumers snatched these players up in 1 business day - disproving the notion that most people hardly know about this technology or let alone even care.This past weekend provided a HUGE blow to Blu-ray in the eyes of this consumer. Blu-ray did nothing to offer any competition to the $199 HD DVD players. Their players remain around $450 (even with the new 40GB PS3 for $399). Having gone into several Best Buys, I saw a total of 2 HD-A30s and 1 HD-A3 - everything else sold out. However, there was plenty of Blu-ray to go around - Samsung, Sony, and Pioneer players up the ying yang at the stores. They were on the floor, in the back, and filling up the stock shelves way at the top of all those HDTVs.While hard to get your hands on one, it seems many consumers have made the choice to get HD DVD. Seemingly 1080p does not matter to the average consumer. They are just stoked that a high-definition player can be had for $199! Perhaps we might see those Blu-ray players come down in price now.