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Will Blu-ray player prices stagnate or go higher?


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#1 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 11:02 AM

With Warners going totally blu by May of this year, will BD player manufacturers have the incentive to drive prices down if HD DVD players won't present a long-term viable alternative for prospective buyers of HDM players?

The format war was good for driving down the prices of the hardware (and the software in terms of sales via retail/online sources), but if the handwriting is now on the wall, will Sony's projections of sustaining high prices on BD player for the CEs that produce BD players come to fruition as the competition is diminished on the HDM landscape.

If the prices stay high (hardware and software), will it lead to slower buy-in from the general public?
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#2 of 42 Shane Martin

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Posted January 04 2008 - 11:11 AM

They'll go lower because the real war is with DVD. The cash cow DVD is running dry.

Also there is a good rumor going around about a $200 panasonic player.

#3 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 11:31 AM

I understand what a tough mountain SD DVD is to climb for HDM, but I also can't expect these manufacturers to just give away the store if they have to recoup their R&D and remain a viable player in being a BR player manufacturer.

It would be interesting if the manufacturers do put out "basic" 1.0 players, and if you wanted the extras, you'd have to pony up for the 1.1 and 2.0 players (kind of what Toshiba did in segmenting the video/audio capabilities for the 3 model levels they offered). I could see the pricing going lower for the no-frills models, while the other pricing tiers focusing on other BD playable capabilities. Unfortunately, this approach would be sort of confusing to the general public, but that's the situation BDA has left us in for the meanwhile.
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#4 of 42 Jarod M

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Posted January 04 2008 - 11:45 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
I understand what a tough mountain SD DVD is to climb for HDM, but I also can't expect these manufacturers to just give away the store if they have to recoup their R&D and remain a viable player in being a BR player manufacturer.

It would be interesting if the manufacturers do put out "basic" 1.0 players, and if you wanted the extras, you'd have to pony up for the 1.1 and 2.0 players (kind of what Toshiba did in segmenting the video/audio capabilities for the 3 model levels they offered). I could see the pricing going lower for the no-frills models, while the other pricing tiers focusing on other BD playable capabilities. Unfortunately, this approach would be sort of confusing to the general public, but that's the situation BDA has left us in for the meanwhile.
Basic 1.0 players? I thought 1.1 was required for all player models introduced in 2008. What is so complicated about 2.0 players that they couldn't be basic models? Other people can help these companies recoup R&D-I'll wait for a $199 profile 2.0 player.

#5 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 12:24 PM

Well, if that's the case with new BD players (just read that 1.0 was for players made before Nov. 1, 2007), then at least 2 model levels for the near future (1.1 and 2.0). Or it depends on how easy the firmware update process is for regular folks (burning CD or requesting them, as ethernet capability is not always a given).
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#6 of 42 Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 04 2008 - 01:00 PM

The differences between the 1.1 and 2.0 spec are so minimal I can't see manufactures maintaining 1.1 production.

I expect Sony to play up the "PS3 as a movie player" to consumers as Blu-Ray takes more hold. You hear a lot of naive "I don't game so why would I want a PS3" comments right now. If a Blu-ray player were announced at CES with the quality and media functionalities of the PS3, came with a remote instead of a controller, and was priced at $400--most consumers would shit themselves. I'm sure Sony wants to capitalize on this but may have been fearful of pissing off other hardware manufacturers while the format was on shaky ground.

And as long as you can use the $400 PS3 as an example, I think Blu-ray hardware in general will continue to favor the consumer.
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#7 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 01:11 PM

But can Sony continue to keep subsidizing the movement by losing money on each PS3 they sell?
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#8 of 42 Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 04 2008 - 02:00 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
But can Sony continue to keep subsidizing the movement by losing money on each PS3 they sell?

I don't keep close track of the gaming market, but I think with the failure of the system's launch it would be an exasperatingly poor move on Sony's part to once again raise prices to that which caused the failure in the first place. Unless Sony goes belly up I'd say the $400 PS3 will be a remain staple Blu-ray player for consumers. They've painted themselves into a corner and don't have much choice in the matter.
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#9 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 02:26 PM

I will not underestimate Sony's boldness when it comes to pricing and cornering the market format-wise. Their long history tells me to not to hold my breath in expecting dramatic price reductions in light of today's news. Perhaps they will hold the line, but it'll take continual re-design of the PS3 to keep removing gamer-friendly capabilities (like backwards compatibility for older PS2 games with the recently stripped down 40GB PS3 model, and partial backwards compatibility with their 80GB model).
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#10 of 42 Lee Scoggins

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Posted January 04 2008 - 02:57 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane Martin
They'll go lower because the real war is with DVD. The cash cow DVD is running dry.

That seems right. Posted Image
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#11 of 42 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted January 04 2008 - 03:49 PM

I don't know the details of the PS3 situation, but don't *ALL* game consoles lose $$$ on the hardware side (and the makers plan accordingly w/ software sales)?? With the PS3, Sony is not just getting game sales, but also BD sales. Sure, if they plan to cut prices on a PS3-based BD player,they might continue to strip away all the non-BD-essential features, but unless they feel certain buyers will never bother to buy PS3 games, I'd think they will continue to at least keep PS3 gaming capability as much as possible -- stripping away backwards compatibility for gaming makes sense since new games sales make $$$ while old games already sold do not. And if the economies of scales can somehow work its way into the PS3 business model like it usually does, then the cost of manufacturing will go down along w/ the pricing anyway. Personally, I wonder if the survival/longevity of the PS3 as a game console won't actually depend in part on how well it can sell to the BD market precisely for these reasons...

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#12 of 42 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 04 2008 - 05:05 PM

It's Sony's multi-billion dollar gamble, thus, they can't afford to keep giving away the players for HDM sales that seems to have prices going down via the BOGO sales (while videogames have a nicer, more stable, price level of $50-$60 per video game title that experiences less discount pressure at the retail level during most of their selling cycle until the inevitable clearance sales at a later date).

Also, it's not like Sony has stopped putting out PS2 games these days, that's far from the case. It just that now you have to go a buy a PS2 for $129 (new) or look for a used PS2 to play PS2 games (if you don't own a PS2), because the PS3s have been stripped of PS2 capabilities to meet a price point that was foisted upon them from the competitive pricing structure of HD DVD players. Now that situation will change, so the question is how long can Sony keep prices low on the PS3 (and standalones) before they decide they want to turn a profit (or smaller loss/unit) and exploit their Blu-ray advantage that they paid so very much for to get Warners to finally go blu?

BTW, the Nintendo Wii console has made money from Day 1 of its release and onward. It can be done. Posted Image
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#13 of 42 JackKay

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Posted January 05 2008 - 12:43 AM

I have a feeling the when (?) any profile 2.0 comes out it will be pricey. I'm not even sure what 2.0 profile will include. But I would bet the cheapest version will be the PS3 because Sony wants you not only to buy Blu-ray but it's gaming system too.
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#14 of 42 Zack Gibbs

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Posted January 05 2008 - 06:36 AM

AFAIK the only difference between 1.1 and 2.0 is; 1 gig of onboard memory (up from 300ish from 1.1) and a requried ethernet port.

As I said, very minimal and not something that would drive up the cost of players. I'd bet there are already a few stand alone 1.1 players that could be upgraded to 2.0.
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#15 of 42 JoeyR

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Posted January 05 2008 - 10:55 AM

Prices will go higher

I hate frickin Sony

they are a bunch of lying money grubbing b@stards

Once they have us where they want us, the official rapage will begin

#16 of 42 Joseph DeMartino

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Posted January 05 2008 - 11:15 AM

Quote:
If a Blu-ray player were announced at CES with the quality and media functionalities of the PS3, came with a remote instead of a controller, and was priced at $400--most consumers would shit themselves.

Hardly. "Most" consumers wouldn't even notice, because "most' consumers - even those who have HDTVs - don't know much about hi-def and certainly aren't going to spend $400 for "just a fancier DVD player." (Surveys show that nearly half of HDTV owners have no HD programming sources and aren't even aware of it. They assume they're watching HD. Conversely many owners of SD TVs and DVD players attempt to rent or buy Blu Ray or HD-DVD discs on the assumption that they're just "better" DVDs that will play on their equipment.)

Don't confuse the sort of enthusiasts who post to the HTF with "most consumers." That is a common mistake, but it is one that often distorts people's perceptions of the industry

In fact, most consumers have never heard of CES and are only vaguely aware of HD-DVD and Blu Ray. If the Blu Ray hardware manufacturers (who aren't just Sony) want to broaden the market to the point where it can compete with SD-DVD, theyr'e going to have to lower prices in the long run.

(And Sony isn't the only game in town when it comes to hardware, either. The thing that made VHS a mass-market item - and kept Beta a niche product - was licensing. VHS licensed its technology to many companies who competed, improved their players, acheived ecomonies of scale and created a huge market. Regardless of what Sony does, some other company will undercut them to gain market share, and that is a good thing.)

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#17 of 42 Romier S

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Posted January 05 2008 - 11:41 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
But can Sony continue to keep subsidizing the movement by losing money on each PS3 they sell?
If Sony continue to sell software on the Playstation 3 and its third parties begin to see continued success on the platform, then yes. Generally, in the gaming market hardware can takes years to become profitable. Microsoft took losses on its Xbox 360 for its first year or so of existence in fact. The original Xbox absolutely destroyed thier Entertainment Division with billions of dollars in losses thanks to the PC-like architecture of the console and the deals they made with third party chip providers (like Nvidia). Of course Microsoft absorbed those losses in the name of securing themselves a top position in the gaming market. I'd say thier strategy paid off in spades this generaion. To be more to the point - software, accessories and these days services (PSN, XBL etc.) equals profit in the gaming market. Hardware profit comes with time.

That having been said, Sony is in the unenviable position of having a BD player to market to the HD consumer and a gaming console to market to the gaming community. That's been the Playstation 3's biggest problem on the gaming front IMO - Sony has been unable to define a clear message as to WHY people should be buying it. They've been bullish on the BD side of things but if they want to gain continued success on the gaming front they have a great deal of work to do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyR
I hate frickin Sony

they are a bunch of lying money grubbing b@stards
Oh yes and Microsoft are just pillars of the community. Showing the corporate world true lessons in honesty, benevolence and kind hearted business tactics. It's true! Most corporate entities do it all for the love. Damn the money. Gimme a break.

#18 of 42 WojtekZ

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Posted January 05 2008 - 12:19 PM

Do we even know if Sony is still loosing money on the PS3? Is there any real data behind that at this time. Its been quite a while since the initial launch and their costs could have gotten much better. I would not be surprised if the PS3 is currently making Sony money.

#19 of 42 DanFe

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Posted January 05 2008 - 02:01 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeyR
Prices will go higher

I hate frickin Sony

they are a bunch of lying money grubbing b@stards

Once they have us where they want us, the official rapage will begin

Do you feel the same way about Microsoft? It's funny because MS is the one being taken to court for monopolistic practices. Yet they would like nothing better than to destroy hi-def software in order to control VOD.

#20 of 42 nolesrule

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Posted January 05 2008 - 02:46 PM

I don't see why prices would go up. It's never been an issue with any other single format media player in the past.


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