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HD DVD Plugs Into Circuit City

Old 02-23-07, 05:28 PM
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HD DVD Plugs Into Circuit City

HD DVD plugs into Circuit City
Support from retailer, Microsoft could help format against Blu-ray
By Susanne Ault -- Video Business, 2/23/2007

FEB. 23 | With Blu-ray Disc title sales overtaking HD DVD movies, BD backers are declaring the high-definition DVD format war over. There are new signs, however, that HD DVD shouldn’t be counted out yet.

Among them: stepped up support for the format from Circuit City, a new Microsoft business-to-business Web site (www.thisishddvd.com) aimed at bringing independent program suppliers into the HD DVD fold and retailers’ belief that Toshiba player prices will soon drop, increasing their penetration.

At the start of the year, Circuit City stores, which traditionally have not carried Toshiba consumer electronics products, began stocking Toshiba’s second-generation set-top HD DVD players. The chain has carried BD players since last spring.

Circuit City officials declined to discuss their merchandising strategy for HD DVD software now that the chain is also carrying players, but it’s believed the titles, which were previously mixed in with standard DVDs, are getting prominence on par with BD releases.

“Circuit City has become a very strong partner,” said Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products Digital A/V group. “We’ve already done over 200 demos at Circuit City, which we started at the end of January. It was always our intention to expand our retail distribution.”

Sally reported that through Feb. 13, sales of Toshiba’s second HD-A2 ($499) and HD-XA2 ($999), which went on sale in late December, have eclipsed the lifetime sales of the company’s first-generation players. She declined to further detail sales results.

BD software looks to be gaining ground, with two BD discs sold for every one HD DVD title sold during January, according to studio sources. But lifetime sales of HD DVD and BD titles are running fairly even—at about 700,000 discs sold for each format through Feb. 10, according to one studio.

“Let’s say the software sales are about even, and you’ve got five times as much hardware on the Blu-ray side as you have on the HD DVD side,” said one executive. “That means your attach rates for HD DVD are higher than your attach rates for Blu-ray,” he said, pointing to 1 million PlayStation 3 and stand-alone BD devices combined in homes, versus about 200,000 HD DVD players that have sold, including stand-alones and Xbox 360 add-on drives.

Retailers remain upbeat about HD DVD, and some say they are anticipating a $100 price cut from Toshiba on its second-generation players. That would bring the manufacturer’s basic model down to as low as $399.

“You’ll see the lower pricing in 30 to 60 days,” said one retail source. “For Toshiba to hit the sell-through numbers that it wants, I expect to see a base level of $299 this fall.”

Toshiba’s Sally did not respond to questions about pricing by deadline.

But most retailers believe that current sales levels of HD DVD and BD are far too small to indicate real strength in either format.

“In the next 12 to 18 months, there will be 100 million high-definition TV sets out in the marketplace,” said David Workman, director of the Progressive Retailers Organization, an electronics buying group. “And if DVD is a popular source for [entertainment], then I’d like to see the [high-def player] numbers catch up. It should be 10% of that installed market,” or 10 million hardware units sold.

“It’s not like the consumer has spoken,” Best Buy spokesman Brian Lucas said. “The numbers are still really small, and it’s still early in the game.”

Meanwhile, Microsoft is hoping to garner further industry support for HD DVD with its www.thisishddvd.com. In contrast to the format’s consumer destination, www.thelookandsoundofperfect.com, Microsoft’s site is reaching out to suppliers and DVD authoring facilities in order to ramp up the production of HD DVD titles.

“We want to show the smaller guys—the second- and third-tier studios—how easy it is to make HD DVD movies,” said Kevin Collins, Microsoft’s director of HD DVD evangelism. Currently, the bulk of BD and HD DVD releases are coming from the major studios.

Separately, in good news for both formats, Borders started offering both HD DVD and BD titles in about 30 to 50 of its stores around the beginning of the year, according to studio sources. Borders declined comment.
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Old 02-23-07, 06:28 PM
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good article. Thanks.
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Old 02-23-07, 06:40 PM
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That is a good sign. It makes sense really, if BB is pushing BD as hard are reported, then CC needs to stock HD to get the customers turned away.

On the other hand, CC has always had a poor stock of titles, especially new releases. This may be only true around here, but it seems pretty common.
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Old 02-23-07, 06:46 PM
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I agree. It seems like another way for CC to brand themselves. They've even matched colors (BB - blue (Blu-ray Disc), CC - red (HD DVD). Given the choice between the two, if I were a next-gen optical media, I would rather have BB in my corner than CC. CC doesn't seem to be doing too well financially with all the store closures, meanwhile BB is opening 95 new stores.
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Old 02-23-07, 06:50 PM
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The most important part is that they expect Toshiba to lower prices again. The players have been selling very well so far and should continue.
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Old 02-23-07, 07:25 PM
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I noticed this a week ago. I was shocked to see the A2 front and center on display and for them to be fairly well stocked on HD DVD.
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Old 02-23-07, 09:02 PM
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For all the people that are interested in the latter part of the paragraph about getting other studio's involved should take notice!!

WE ALL SHOULD START TAKING POLLS TO SEND TO STUDIOS!

They say its easy!
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Old 02-23-07, 09:04 PM
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The one retail insider says we'll see Toshiba players at $299 this Fall. That's gotta help. At that point, I don't think we'll see any BD players below $499.
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Old 02-24-07, 12:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
I agree. It seems like another way for CC to brand themselves. They've even matched colors (BB - blue (Blu-ray Disc), CC - red (HD DVD). Given the choice between the two, if I were a next-gen optical media, I would rather have BB in my corner than CC. CC doesn't seem to be doing too well financially with all the store closures, meanwhile BB is opening 95 new stores.

Have to agree. I never equate CC with anything successful. I go there once in a while, but everything about them seems to scream "we're happy to play second fiddle to Best Buy".

They don't bother organizing their sections well, there POS system is ancient and still requires you to use those god-awful signature capture through the paper receipt, they are chronically understocked on new releases, everything about screams low-rent to me.
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Old 02-24-07, 06:16 PM
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Anything that keeps me from BB is welcome in my book, but CC is no peach either... The $299 possible price tag is the most important piece of that article. And the fact is, with Microsoft backing it (and I know how people feel about MS) HD isnt going to be dead for a while.
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Old 02-24-07, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Paul Arnette
CC doesn't seem to be doing too well financially with all the store closures, meanwhile BB is opening 95 new stores.
CC has always operated off of cash on hand, meanwhile Best Buy operates on credit.

Last edited by John Galt; 02-24-07 at 07:46 PM.
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Old 02-24-07, 11:21 PM
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Maybe Best Buy needs to be bought off as well...

From this week's circular...
here is the exact text:

On pg. 18
SAMSUNG
Blu-ray High Definition Disc Player
Experience movies like never before in true 1080p HD- the highest resolution available. Plus, enjoy your existing DVD library in near-HD quality. (BD-P1000)

On pg. 19
TOSHIBA
HD DVD High-Definition DVD Player
Enjoy the jaw-dropping color and clarity of 720P HD and watch all your standard DVD's in near HD quality. (HD-A2)
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Old 02-25-07, 01:19 PM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Maybe Best Buy needs to be bought off as well...
I saw this while reading the paper this morning and was shaking my head. BB strikes again!
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Old 02-25-07, 05:24 PM
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Originally Posted by bunkaroo
Have to agree. I never equate CC with anything successful. I go there once in a while, but everything about them seems to scream "we're happy to play second fiddle to Best Buy".

They don't bother organizing their sections well, there POS system is ancient and still requires you to use those god-awful signature capture through the paper receipt, they are chronically understocked on new releases, everything about screams low-rent to me.

Yup, it sucks too because they beat BB on prices most weeks but it's just such a hassle going into there stores. Things badly organized, low stock, always confused on where to check out.
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Old 02-26-07, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
Maybe Best Buy needs to be bought off as well...

From this week's circular...
here is the exact text:

On pg. 19
TOSHIBA
HD DVD High-Definition DVD Player
Enjoy the jaw-dropping color and clarity of 720P HD and watch all your standard DVD's in near HD quality. (HD-A2)
Did Toshiba release a patch to get the HD-A2 to output in 1080p? And I also vaguely remember something about that Sammy model not being able to output in "true" 1080p.

Last edited by Centurion; 02-26-07 at 08:50 AM.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Centurion
Did Toshiba release a patch to get the HD-A2 to output in 1080p? And I also vaguely remember something about that Sammy model not being able to output in "true" 1080p.
No and I don't think they plan to. The HD-A20 is the one that will have 1080p output.

As far as the Sammy, I guess it depends on how you define 1080p. What comes out of the player is 1080p, but it is in 1080i before being processed.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Centurion
Did Toshiba release a patch to get the HD-A2 to output in 1080p? And I also vaguely remember something about that Sammy model not being able to output in "true" 1080p.
No, they didn't. But it outputs 1080i.

And i think the PS3 is the only machine out right now that will put out native 1080p.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by digitalfreaknyc
No, they didn't. But it outputs 1080i.

And i think the PS3 is the only machine out right now that will put out native 1080p.
Thanks for the response.
I've got an HD-A2 myself but it's not plugged in through the ethernet port for automatic updates.
I knew there was something about the Sammy. I think it can't read a 1080p signal and pass it to your HDTV untouched. I think the best it can do is take a 1080i and convert it to a progressive signal. It's been a while since I looked into this and my memory isn't my greatest asset.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Centurion
Thanks for the response.
I've got an HD-A2 myself but it's not plugged in through the ethernet port for automatic updates.
I knew there was something about the Sammy. I think it can't read a 1080p signal and pass it to your HDTV untouched. I think the best it can do is take a 1080i and convert it to a progressive signal. It's been a while since I looked into this and my memory isn't my greatest asset.
I actually include all HD machines in that statement, whether they are HD or BD. They all output 1080i and the ones that claim 1080p just have a deinterlacing chip inside of them that deinterlace it before outputting the signal. So the 1080p isn't native. And the chip is doing the same job that a 1080p tv would do to a 1080i signal.
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Old 02-26-07, 09:34 AM
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Thanks again.

Now, going back to the topic...
To be fair, the Circuit City in Valencia, CA has always had the HDDVDs in their own section and not mixed in with the SDDVDs. Also, Borders didn't just start carrying HDDVDs. The Hollywood, CA location has had them since November last year and perhaps even earlier than that.

I did, however, find it funny about bunkaroo mentioning CC using those older signature pads when signing your receipts. Ancient indeed.

Last edited by Centurion; 02-26-07 at 09:36 AM.
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Old 02-26-07, 10:06 AM
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Circuit City is, what? A quarter the size of Best Buy (in sales)? I looked into it a long time ago but don't remember the exact figures.
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Old 02-26-07, 07:25 PM
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Divx part 2.
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Old 02-26-07, 08:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Peep
Divx part 2.
Uhh...doubtful. HD DVD is probably already more popular than DIVX ever was.
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Old 02-26-07, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Peep
Divx part 2.
The increased DRM feature of Blu-Ray are FAR more consistent with the horrible Divx model than HD-DVD is. I think you've got it backwards, but that's just me.
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