The HD DVD player will be released in Europe on November 15, just two days before the launch of Playstation 3, in what is almost certainly an attempt to flummox Sony and the Blu-Ray format it is supporting.
Toshiba's HD DVD drive, which has been available in the US and Japan for a number of months now, will go on sale initially at £400, a similar price to the Playstation 3. Toshiba's Olive Van Wynendaele also announced that a higher-end model, called HD-XE1, would be launching nearer the Christmas period, priced around £600.
Toshiba claims it has already sold 50,000 units, and hope by Christmas that 200,000 units will have been sold. However, this may be slightly optimistic considering the Blu-Ray players will be released in October, with discs sporting a higher memory capacity (and supposedly better quality images). The first Blu-Ray device will be released by Samsung, followed by Sony's high profile Playstation 3 release in November.
If the high definition disc market is really going to take off then the first round must go to Sony. Although Microsoft has pledged
to keep the price down of its HD DVD XBOX 360 add-on drive, the initial sales will almost certainly go to Sony. Why would anyone pay for an HD DVD player when you can get a Playstation 3 with a Blu-Ray drive for almost the same price? Of course, it still remains to be seen whether the next generation disc formats will actually take off, with some commentators of the opinion that this generation may actually be ignored by consumers, content with their DVD collections.
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