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Article: Warner Lowers Blu-ray pricing

Old 07-14-08, 12:12 PM
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Article: Warner Lowers Blu-ray pricing

Could this be the start of lower Blu-ray pricing across the board?

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Warner lowers Blu-ray pricing
Retailers could get catalog titles for $11
By Susanne Ault -- Video Business, 7/11/2008

JULY 11 | Warner Home Video is launching aggressive pricing initiatives for the fourth quarter, including its most comprehensive Blu-ray Disc promotion yet, say retailers.

Starting early September and rolling through first-quarter 2009, Warner will offer a Blu-ray point-of-sale rebate program with which retailers will essentially be able to order participating catalog titles for around $11.

Even with a retail mark-up on the featured titles—including The Fugitive, Enter the Dragon, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, The Aviator, Road Warrior and Swordfish—the price tag to consumers should be significantly less than the titles’ current average of $20 to $25 retail price at outlets such as Amazon.com and Best Buy.

In this program, retailers will buy the titles at their present pricing but obtain rebate money back upon the sale of each unit. That should ultimately amount to a relatively inexpensive $11 cost for retailers.

Additionally, Warner will offer rebates, although less extensive, for newer Blu-ray releases, including 300, The Departed, I Am Legend, Ocean’s 13 and We Are Marshall. This layer of the Blu-ray program also will run from early September to the first quarter, according to store sources.

The consumer price for these titles is likely to fall somewhere between $17 and $20. That would still represent a deal for shoppers, as titles such as 300 are now falling between $24 and $30 at outlets such as Amazon and Best Buy.

Warner did not comment by deadline.

Although retailers hope Warner’s Blu-ray strategy will pay off with boosted sales, some store sources worry that the format is becoming devalued too quickly.

“They are trying to get this software business going,” said one source. “But it’s really a double-edged sword. We’re happy to be able to offer it, but it can be a slippery slope. Consumers might get in the mindset that they want everything discounted. If that becomes the case, we will shorten the life of Blu-ray just like we did with DVD.”

At deadline, Newbury Comics buyer Ian Leshin had not yet learned of Warner’s Blu-ray plan. But he seemed to embrace the studio’s strategy. The New England chain found success with Lionsgate’s Blu-ray repricings earlier this year. Lionsgate was the first studio to permanently reprice its Blu-ray titles, including Terminator 2 and Devil’s Rejects, down $10 to a new $19.99 SRP.

“Terminator 2 is our biggest-selling catalog title with the $19.99 SRP,” said Leshin. “It can become more of an impulse thing to buy.”

Warner’s Blu-ray rebate program comes on top of a straight repricing plan for a slew of standard-definition DVD titles that also goes into effect in September. As detailed in a July 2 newsletter to retailers, Warner will drop the price on varying titles to either a $19.96, $14.96 or $12.97 SRP. Some relatively new Warner theatrical DVDs are slated to fall to $19.96, including June 17 release Fool’s Gold and June 24’s 10,000 B.C. The discs originally streeted at a $28.98 SRP.

The $14.96 repricing will span such titles as Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Blood Diamond, and the $12.97 price point will cover titles including Wedding Crashers and Ant Bully.

All studios often reprice titles as they age on shelves, but the retail community similarly has mixed feelings about such plans.

“My first thought is that I like repricings because it does provide our customers with a better value, where they can get the same title for less money and enjoy a better margin,” said Kirk Kirkpatrick, president of video at wholesaler WaxWorks VideoWorks. However, the studios “are repricing a little quickly on some, but they want to get the fourth quarter going.”

One retail executive was less enthusiastic about studio repricings in general, blaming them for unnecessarily encouraging customers to delay purchasing. The executive wishes pricing promotions were shorter in duration.

“Customers get in the habit of seeing the price go down and down, and they’ll get in the habit of waiting longer to buy,” the executive explained. “If you can do something that is very short-term, that will give customers a reason to buy.”
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Old 07-14-08, 12:28 PM
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Already being talked about over in the HD Forum:

http://forum.dvdtalk.com/showthread.php?t=535381
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Old 07-14-08, 02:17 PM
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Warner is offering incentives to retail stores for each title (certain ones, not all) that sells. No store is obligated to mark down the price of Blu-rays at all though it would be in their best interest. Even if they do, it will be no where near the BOGO days of 2007.

The article mentions the incentives going over towards DVDs as well.
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Old 07-14-08, 02:34 PM
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Thanks. That's good to hear.
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Old 07-14-08, 02:44 PM
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Unless Sony issues an aggressive price drop for their woefully high priced blu ray players, why does this matter ?
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Old 07-14-08, 02:51 PM
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Will this apply to Amazon and other online retailers? I assume it will, but unless I'm missing it I don't see it mentioned.
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Old 07-14-08, 03:36 PM
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This is great news indeed.

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Old 07-14-08, 04:41 PM
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Originally Posted by laidbacklarkin
Unless Sony issues an aggressive price drop for their woefully high priced blu ray players, why does this matter ?
I agree.

Even though I started this thread I still don't have a Blu-Ray player... and I refuse to buy one until the price for the latest generation model drops into the $200 Dollar range.

But -- just for fun -- let's say that Blu-Ray players were already at $200. Up until a few weeks ago I still wouldn't have purchased one due to the higher costs of the discs.

Of course I realize that Blu-Ray quality beats regular DVDs hands down. But I simply refuse to pay $10 + extra for Blu-Ray discs. To me, the increase in quality/features simply doesn't justify the price difference.

Hell, it's not like the huge jump from video-cassette to DVD. Given this fact, there are going to be other options soon available to consumers.

I'm eagerly awaiting reviews of Toshiba's new "upconvert" software for regular DVD players. An article in Video Business News said Toshiba stated it will match (or surpass) Blu-Ray's display quality!

Toshiba is gunning for revenge against Sony and wants to see Blu-Ray fail. If their promises of such a high quality display prove true it could bring about the downfall of Blu-Ray. Just think, no reason to double dip.

Last edited by rich-y; 07-14-08 at 04:47 PM.
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Old 07-14-08, 04:49 PM
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Originally Posted by rich-y
I'm eagerly awaiting reviews of Toshiba's new "upconvert" software for regular DVD players. An article in Video Business News said Toshiba stated it will match (or surpass) Blu-Ray's display quality!
Do you have a link to the article?
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Old 07-14-08, 05:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rich-y
I'm eagerly awaiting reviews of Toshiba's new "upconvert" software for regular DVD players. An article in Video Business News said Toshiba stated it will match (or surpass) Blu-Ray's display quality!
i have absolutely nothing against Toshiba. in fact, i own an HD DVD player and most of the displays i own are Toshiba (all but my projector).

that being said, there is no upconversion technology that will match or surpass Blu-ray's quality, period.

i don't think the article made that claim anyway. i think the wording was more like "similar to Blu-ray" in quality, if my memory serves me.
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Old 07-14-08, 05:41 PM
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Originally Posted by kefrank
that being said, there is no upconversion technology that will match or surpass Blu-ray's quality, period.
Don't kill the messenger. Ha!

So, here's the article from Video Business. I have highlighted the part that says it's display will be "virtually identical to Blu-Ray" and some other key points:




By Paul Sweeting -- Video Business, 6/6/2008

The Japanese press has been full of speculation in the past week over purported plans by Toshiba to introduce a super up-converting DVD player that surpasses current up-converters and produces images from existing DVDs that are virtually identical to Blu-ray Disc.

The speculation was touched off by a report in the Daily Yomiuri saying the new players would be released “by the end of the year.” According to the report, the new technology was made possible “by developing a large integrated circuit that can instantly convert images produced in the current format into high-resolution images.”

The report said nothing about pricing, nor about whether Toshiba plans to keep the new technology proprietary or will license it to other manufacturers.

So far, Toshiba has yet to officially confirm the reports, but I’m willing to bet they’re pretty accurate. In March, following Toshiba’s decision to abandon the HD DVD format, CEO Atsutoshi Nishida told the Wall Street Journal, “If you watch standard DVDs on our players, the images are of very high quality because they include an up-converting feature. And we're going to improve this even more, so that consumers won't be able to tell the difference from HD DVD images.”

As for any plans to introduce the new players in the U.S., Toshiba America Consumer Products VP of marketing Jodi Sally said in an email, “Although there have been reports from Tokyo’s Daily Yomiuri regarding the launch of high-resolution DVD recorders/players, there have been no specific product plans or introductions announced for the U.S. market.”

Which is not to say there is no such thing as “a high-resolution DVD recorder/player,” or that “specific product plans or introductions” won’t be announced for the U.S. market at some point.

Presumably, the U.S. models would be players only, rather than the player/recorders that are popular in Japan.

Should Toshiba go ahead with the new players, it would represent a break from the hardware maker’s history of studio-friendly product development: a device with a clear consumer benefit and appeal but with no corresponding benefit to the studios.

The studios, in fact, are likely to view the new players as a net negative. They would give consumers another reason not to invest in Blu-ray technology at a time when even Toshiba’s erstwhile HD DVD allies are keen to get consumers buying movies on Blu-ray.

And up-converting players take away any incentive those consumers might have to replace any of their existing DVD libraries with new-fangled discs.

On the other hand, it’s not like the studios really had Toshiba’s back in HD DVD’s battle with Blu-ray.

To hear Toshiba officials tell it, they were stunned when the company’s long-time studio partner Warner Bros. abruptly switched its allegiance to Blu-ray in February, precipitating HD DVD’s ultimate collapse.

The introduction would also further underscore—if more were needed—a fundamental mistake made by Blu-ray developers and their studio allies: They acted as if they were working in a vacuum, and that improvements in digital processors, compression software, manufacturing processes, digital delivery and other refinements would not continue apace all around them while they tried to engineer the perfect, “future-proof” piece of hardware.

In fact, they were in a race to establish blue-laser technology in the marketplace—not against HD DVD but against the rapid pace of digital technology development—before consumers had other options.

They still are.

Direct Link: http://www.videobusiness.com/article/CA6568109.html

Last edited by rich-y; 07-14-08 at 05:44 PM.
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Old 07-14-08, 05:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rich-y
Don't kill the messenger. Ha!
ha, fair enough! i don't want to get too bogged down in semantics, but "virtually identical" still does not suggest that the quality could "surpass" that of Blu-ray. additionally, the use of a term like "virtually" leaves a lot of wiggle room. how close does it have to be to be "virtually identical" versus "identical"? what display size and viewing distance is the cutoff point for being able to discern the difference?

the technological reality is that there is "virtually" no way to take a 720x480 MPEG2-compressed source and make it look identical to a 1920x1080 AVC or VC-1 encoded source. at least not on a decent-sized 1080p display.
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Old 07-14-08, 06:23 PM
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A heads up at Target today they put the Sony Blu-Ray player on clearance. I didn't see the price but it was probably 15% off of the 398.99 price so you might want to check around if you were looking for this one.
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Old 07-14-08, 06:24 PM
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Virtually identical, virtually the same, virtually whatever. Just sell it for the price of a regular dvd player and I'll pick it up just the same
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Old 07-14-08, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Spicollidriver1
A heads up at Target today they put the Sony Blu-Ray player on clearance. I didn't see the price but it was probably 15% off of the 398.99 price so you might want to check around if you were looking for this one.
Unless this gets sub $200 I would recommend holding off on it. Its a Profile 1.0 player and takes a very long time to load discs. The new Sony S350 is now out ($399.99) and is superior in every way.
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Old 07-14-08, 07:40 PM
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I'm torn on this. On one hand, I'd like to see lower prices. $39.95 MSRP is ridiculous, and I rarely spend more than $20 on a movie.

But on the other hand, I don't want my blu-ray collection to devalue the way DVD has. I don't buy New Release DVDs any more. In 6 months the price will be cut in half, and after a year it'll be in the bargain bin. My DVD collection, which was once worth something, is now filled with movies that won't sell for more than $2-$3.
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Old 07-14-08, 07:44 PM
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It's inevitable, though, as this is media that can be readily copied and reproduced in whatever new format there is. True value of collection for me is that I like these movies and will find time 'eventually' to watch them again, or at least share it with my family and friends. I've been burned as well, which hopefully makes me a more discerning buyer of new movies.....
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Old 07-14-08, 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by GizmoDVD
Unless this gets sub $200 I would recommend holding off on it. Its a Profile 1.0 player and takes a very long time to load discs. The new Sony S350 is now out ($399.99) and is superior in every way.
I concur.

Please wait.....
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Old 07-14-08, 09:46 PM
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rich-y,

My 1985 Astrovan is virtually identical to a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I have 4 wheels--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I have a steering wheel--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I have an engine--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I have a radio--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I can turn corners--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

I can drive on highways and roads--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.

Hell, why the fuck do I want a Porsche 911 Turbo, anyway?
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Old 07-14-08, 10:16 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
rich-y,

My 1985 Astrovan is virtually identical to a Porsche 911 Turbo.
...
I have an engine--just like a Porsche 911 Turbo.
...
Hell, why the fuck do I want a Porsche 911 Turbo, anyway?
Engine yes, same power from engine no.

I could care less about blu-ray for now. Until they come down to $8-15 price range, I won't be buying them. I'll settle for the 1080i upconversion done by my Toshiba HD-DVD player.
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Old 07-14-08, 10:26 PM
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I won't really argue with you, but many Blu-rays can be had for $16 or under. And when I buy my Blu-ray player, I'm certainly getting them.

I will agree, Blu is still overall expensive, but just wait for B1G1 sales and other promotions from places like Amazon and Fry's and sometimes Best Buy.

I have an XA2, btw, but I have to say, HD is better in most cases than upsampling. Most. Not all. Just most, meaning about 75% of the time.
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Old 07-14-08, 10:43 PM
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Audio tracks on Blu-Ray, especially concert audio, will never be matched by what a dvd can offer.
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Old 07-14-08, 11:08 PM
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I've got 30 Blu Ray movies - and the average price I've paid is $13.

And this Warner pricing deal is the first domino to fall. Pricing WILL come down.

And there is no comparison between Blu Ray and DVD. Blu Ray not only has a sharper, clearer picture, but the colors are more vibrant, don't bleed, AND are more accurate!
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Old 07-15-08, 12:08 AM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I have an XA2, btw, but I have to say, HD is better in most cases than upsampling. Most. Not all. Just most, meaning about 75% of the time.
I am sorry to disagree with you. Upconversion will never be the same as BR/1080p. The only way one could come up with the 75% ratio cited above is if one's audio set-up is below mediocre and one's TV is permanently damaged.

Or, an SD transfer was intentionally housed in a BR case.

Ciao,
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Old 07-15-08, 12:17 AM
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I feel bad for Toshiba that they can't just let it go and release a BD player. Talk about sour grapes, this has to be one of the worst cases ever.

Last edited by jiggawhat; 07-15-08 at 01:29 AM.
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