Gartner says HD DVD prices ineffective

Market research firm says Toshiba's price promotions will do little to boost format
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Market research firm Gartner has said that it expects Toshiba's price cuts to do little more than delay the inevitable.

It stated that it expects Blu-ray to be firmly be the winner of the high definition battle, in terms of the consumer market, before the end of the year.

Toshiba cut the price of its HD DVD players after Warner Bros announced that it would be backing rival format Blu-ray exclusively earlier this month.

"Gartner believes that Toshiba's price-cutting may prolong HD DVD's life a little, but the limited line-up of film titles will inflict fatal damage on the format," wrote Hiroyuki Shimizu in the firm's semiconductor DQ Monday report.

"Gartner expects that, by the end of 2008, Blu-ray will be the winning format in the consumer market, and the war will be over."

Toshiba, however, refuted the ineffectiveness of its price cuts, with it saying it expected HD DVD to reverse the situation through its affordability following Woolworths' announcement yesterday that it would no longer stock the format.

Speaking to PC Retail's sister site MCV, Toshiba's UK consumer products divisions assistant general manager Olivier Van Wynendaele said: "We have been hugely successful in expanding the number of consumers owning HD DVD players.

"UK consumers can now pick-up an HD DVD player for less than £150, around half the cost of other HD formats. Even before pricing reached this level, HD DVD represented more than 60 per cent of the overall standalone high definition market.

"Just as importantly for movie retailers, HD-DVD has always enjoyed greater software sales per player than any other HD format. In fact, HD DVD owners have already bought around 3.5 movies each, compared to less than one movie sold per Blu ray device.

"While we're disappointed by Woolworths' decision, it is extremely early to spot which format will eventually win. As the figures I mention show – where consumers have a choice, they choose HD DVD.

"We're confident that HD DVD's affordability, fantastic choice of movies, great consumer experience and upcoming promotions will help it continue to strengthen its share of the market."

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