Best Buy Drops Xbox HD DVD Player Price To $50 - InformationWeek

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Best Buy Drops Xbox HD DVD Player Price To $50

Most consumers have shunned high-definition DVDs and players to avoid being on the losing end of the format war.

Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy on Monday advertised a $50 HD DVD player for the Xbox 360, the latest example of a major retailer slashing prices on products supporting the high-definition format that has lost industry support in favor of Sony-backed Blu-ray.

The drastically reduced price for the player, which had sold for $129, was being advertised the same day Microsoft announced that it would stop making the external player for its videogame console.

Toshiba, which led industry proponents of HD DVD, gave up the fight against Blu-ray last week, saying it would no longer make or market players supporting the format. The announcement came four days after Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, said it would stop selling HD DVD movies and players by June.

The turning point in the format battle came last month when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, which accounts for 20% of DVD sales in the U.S., said it would ship all of its high-definition titles in Blu-ray by year's end. Best Buy and online movie renter Netflix followed suit this month.

Since Toshiba's announcement, Best Buy hasn't been alone in offering deals. CompUSA offered on its Web site only a HD DVD player for $90 with seven high-definition movies.

Those companies that dropped support for the Toshiba-backed format said it was necessary to eliminate customer confusion over having to choose between two competing and incompatible technologies. Most consumers have shunned high-definition DVDs and players to avoid being on the losing end of the format war, which was reminiscent of the battle between Betamax and VHS in the early days of videocassette recorders. VHS eventually won over Sony-backed Betamax.

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