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Blu-ray Prices Rising in Absence of HD DVD Competition Print
Thursday, 13 March 2008

Gizmodo is reporting that Blu-ray player prices are on the rise:

I suppose that it is not all that surprising to find out that without competition from the HD DVDs camp, prices for Blu-ray players have gone up. According to data collected by Pricegrabber.com, Blu-ray players have hit a high average of $400 per unit for the year -- about the same price they were at this time last year. This comes after the aggressive price cuts Blu-ray manufacturers employed at the height of the HD DVD battle.

A spreadsheet screen grab accompanying the Gizmo news item shows that the Samsung BD-P1400 player is now selling at $374, versus a low of $301 on January 10, with similar increases shown for the Sony BDP-S300, now selling at $403, versus $307 at the 2008 low (Jan 1); the Sharp BD-HP20U at $440, versus a low of $325 (Feb 15); and the Panasonic DMP-BD30K at $480, versus a low of $401 (Jan 1).

The data at the Gizmodo site (via Pricegrabber) also shows that the LG BH200 combo Blu-ray/HD DVD player debuted at $999 on January 1, bottomed out at $599 on February 1 and now sells at $666.

While Gizmodo is correct about the price increase resulting from a sudden vacuum of competition, there's another angle here that should be beneficial to consumers over the medium to long haul. Rising prices for Blu-ray players are likely to encourage increased manufacturer support for Blu-ray, resulting in a greater variety of players and performance levels.

All consumers appreciate falling prices, but sometimes it's good for prices to go up in the short term, as it gives manufacturers an incentive to pay more attention to a market, with the likely long-term result being  broader choice over a wider range of price points.

In fact, the beginning of the end for the HD DVD format occurred precisely at the moment that Toshiba began aggressively slashing HD DVD player prices, as it guaranteed there would be reduced manufacturer interest in the format. Since Toshiba was virtually alone in building HD DVD hardware to begin with, there was little chance that any other manufacturer would support HD DVD when prices dipped to under $200 and eventually went as low as $99 prior to Toshiba tossing in the towel.