Monday, June 04, 2007

Sony drops Blu-Ray price; Is PS3 next?

I can't say I didn't see this coming.

Sony has dropped the price for its new BDP-S300 Blu-Ray disc player from $599 to $499. That's half of what the first Sony Blu-Ray cost just six months ago.

And I think it means we'll see a cut in PS3 units, which come with a Blu-Ray player built-in, before summer is done.

This is all about competition of course.

Sony is in a Beta vs. VHS war with HD-DVD, another form of next-generation high definition DVD playback, pioneered by Toshiba. HD-DVD players are now selling for less than $300, though the sub-300 model is not capable of producing the highest quality HDTV picture (1080P), like Blu-Ray is.

Sony officially says the Blu-Ray price cut is due to falling production costs and growing demand.

Neither format is selling well right now but Sony can ill afford for Blu Ray to lose as it would stagnate sales of the PS3, which has yet to take off. So far Hollywood studios lean more towards Blu-Ray but I think both formats could thrive.

There are some new combo players that play HD-DVD and Blu-Ray but they're going for $800 or more.

This could be an important battle for consumers to watch with HDTV set prices falling by the month.


Clayj said...

Let me start by saying I am an HD-DVD fan.

That said, I am a bit sad to say that I think Blu-ray will eventually win this Format War, for one single reason: Broader studio support. Right now, there is only ONE studio that only supports HD-DVD: Universal. There are three or four that are Blu-ray exclusive: Sony, MGM, Fox, Disney, etc. (A few others support both formats... Warner and Paramount, to name two.) Most studios like Blu-ray better because it includes deeper copy protection, but beyond that, both formats work equally well from a consumer standpoint.

I don't know if the PS3's price will drop too much in response to this new player price drop... the PS3 has a lot more stuff inside than the standalone player does, and Sony are already losing their shirt on each PS3 they sell. It's more likely that this price drop is a response to Toshiba's recent price drop on their HD-DVD players; while Blu-ray has broader studio support right now, it's still possible for HD-DVD to win if they make big inroads into the small (but growing) HD disc market... Sony can't afford to just sit back and let Toshiba run away with it.

Myself, I'm going to stick with my Xbox 360's HD-DVD add-on for now. I am planning to pick up the new Samsung combo player later this year, so that I'll be able to play both Blu-ray and HD-DVD on my home theatre.

Terri D. said...

We can only hope. The PS3 price was unimaginable, even in a Xbox 360 market. For me, I'll just stick with my Wii.