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Blu-ray Prices Continue To Climb

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 0 comment
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Pricewatch - Sony, Sharp and Panasonic Blu-ray players continue to climb an upward price slope as demand has increased and competition decreased in the high definition video market, TG Daily found. Samsung's BD-P1400 and LG's combo player, however, have settled down and are moving back into more favorable price territory.

For the majority of players, though, prices are higher than they have been all year and it seems as though there is really no way to stop the prices from spiraling out of control. How far will they continue to rise and set themselves out of the mainstream target market?

Sony's BDP-S300, Shar's BD-HP20U and Panasonic's DMP-BD30K are all at or around new price highs for 2008. This chart shows the priceline of all major Blu-ray players from the beginning of the year to now, based on average e-tailer data from Pricegrabber.com.

For the most part, prices were the lowest on these products at the beginning of January, when the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray was still raging on. Shortly thereafter, however, the cards began to fall and HD DVD was resoundingly defeated.

By the end of February, prices began to climb. This is just around the time that Toshiba announced it would stop producing HD DVD players and format pioneer Universal decided to jump ship to Blu-ray. It is a very interesting trend and a lesson in price competition. To this date, it remains solid that those who bought Blu-ray players in the heat of battle between the two formats made the best deal.

In an interesting twist, LG's combo Blu-ray/HD DVD player has continued to go against the trend of other Blu-ray players and actually come down in price. At $585 it is now nearly the same price as Panasonic's Blu-ray-specific player.

Prices of HD DVD players, meanwhile, seem to have hit a plateau, with the 1080i HD-A3 model hovering at around $100 and the 1080p HD-A30 unit at around $130. These prices continue to be comparable to upconvert DVD players, and it will be interesting to see if they manage some kind of second life for that use only. Obviously, though, there is no chance of any sort of HD DVD comeback.

Later this month, Blu-ray movies will carry a new slate of advanced features, most notable being the ability to connect to the Internet. However, the only Blu-ray player that will be able to access these features is the Playstation 3. This means that not only will they be unable to access Web-enabled features in the future but they also cannot receive firmware upgrades.

Again, although Blu-ray has been declared the winner, it is right now about the worst time to invest in a standalone Blu-ray player. If prices do not come down quickly, these Blu-ray manufacturers may end up with a tough situation when the current models are shoved out of the way for new devices capable of playing back newer enhanced BD movies.

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