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'HD DVD player for $99 sealed Toshiba's fate'

“Sales of BD players and recorders for consumers are highly likely to surpass 10 million units including sales in Europe. In Japan, where recorders sell well, Blu-ray recorder sales will rise to 1.5 to 2 million units,” said Masayuki Kozuka (pictured), general manager in charge of storage device strategy at Matsushita, in an interview with Nikkei Electronics.

Kozuka attributed Blu-ray’s victory to the fact that BD players sold much better than HD DVD player in January 2008. But also Sony responded to Warner’s concern that “units sales of the PS3 have nothing to do with the format competition,” by enhancing the PS3’s attractiveness as a BD player by including a remote controller and bundling 10 movies.

Kozuka also suggested that the $99 pricetag of HD DVD player on Black Friday “sealed Toshiba’s fate.” “That pricing must have discouraged every manufacturer from entering the HD DVD player market. I believe Chinese manufacturers' entry to the US market was HD DVD supporters' last hope. Given the market price at US$99, however, it became impossible for any other manufacturer but Toshiba to enter the market,” Kozuka ventured.

The Matsushita executive expects BD player sales to reach “at least 4 to 5 million units” in North America in 2008. US movie studios have speculated that sales of Blu-ray movies could hit US$1 billion. “If they are sold at $20 per title, the targeted sales represent more than 50 million discs. Since roughly 7 million discs were sold in 2007, US studios are estimating unit sales to increase seven to eight times.”

Story filed 27.02.08

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