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Big Stores Offer Blow Out Blu-ray Prices

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If you’ve wanted a Blu-ray DVD player, there’s never been a better time to get one, as retailers are drastically reducing prices on the devices in an attempt to give the format a much-needed boost. The Wall Street Journal reports that prices on Blu-ray players at stores like Target (s TGT) and Best Buy (s BBY) will drop to $230 and possibly as low as $150 after Thanksgiving, down sharply from roughly $400 earlier this year.

While Blu-ray won the high-definition DVD format wars earlier this year, sales have not taken off. Most consumers have been content with the picture provided by standard DVDs, and Blu-ray players and discs are more expensive, not to mention that little economic downturn going on. DVD sales and rentals through the end of this September are down 2.4 percent as compared to last year, and the industry is pinning its hopes on Blu-ray to make up that difference.

Blu-ray manufacturers are in a race against time, as other options like VOD, digital downloads and streaming of movies directly to the TV set become more viable, rendering the need for the purchase of any physical format to watch a movie obsolete.

But while downloads and streaming may not have any physical baggage, Blu-ray has them beat when it comes to true HD. The U.S. just doesn’t have the broadband pipes to support full online HD delivery yet. Netflix appears to be hedging its bets as it offers Blu-ray discs for rent, and it has partnered with Samsung and LG to deliver streaming movies to Blu-ray DVD players (though those models retail for $400).

Given all this, will price reductions get you to buy a Blu-ray player?

2 Responses to “Big Stores Offer Blow Out Blu-ray Prices”

  1. The more I think about it, I’m doing just fine without Blu-Ray – what with digital HD downloads through iTunes, Netflix account, and Netflix Watch Instantly (have a roku box). Then add that DVDs are more “flexible” as a format what with DVD drives hooked up to computers and such. I think the price point for a Blu-Ray player will be $100-$150 at this rate, and even then, I’m not planning on buying many Blu-Ray discs. Rentals from Netflix and digital downloads / streaming are the future as I see it.

  2. I think $99 is the price point and perhaps subsidized further by some NetFlix biz partnership whereby new or existing NetFlix customers get -say- 5 free BluRay rentals with the purchase of a BluRay player, followed by the additional $1 per month they now require of customers who want to rent BluRay discs.

    That said, the lack of adoption despite dropping prices makes me wonder if the format war was never between BluRay and HD DVD in the first place, but rather, between standard DVD and Hi-def DVDs. I have a $99 up-convert DVD player with HDMI out. It’s not Hi-def quality, but it’s pretty damn good. For those of us who are old enough to remember the VHS vs. Beta format war, the Beta tapes were clearly higher quality (I had one friend with a Beta player), but VHS was clearly “good enough” and I wonder if that’s the case here.

    And with the economic challenges we’re facing, I’ll save that extra money I would have paid for a BluRay disc, and get some music or shows from iTunes, or rent an extra HD movie or two from Comcast.