Tightening the noose — Toshiba cuts HD DVD player prices in Oz

toshiba_hd-a2_hd_dvd_player.jpgSure, it's nothing new for our US friends, but Toshiba's Australian arm has just announced that it will be slashing the price of HD DVD players down under as well.

It's surprising that they took this long to announce the price cuts, but hey, this is Australia. The only thing we get before the rest of the world is... well, erm... do we get anything before the rest of the world?

But in all seriousness, is there anybody out there that thinks this doesn't sound like Toshiba's trying to throw the women and children overboard from the sinking HD DVD ship? Just so long as they don't decide to up and leave Australia because of the format war's brutal toll on profits...

Hit the jump for a full press release with the new prices. It's almost tempting...

MEDIA RELEASE

TOSHIBA introduces new pricing for HD DVD players

SYDNEY, January 22, 2008 – Building on a successful last quarter in its High Definition format sales and marketing campaign, Toshiba (Australia) Pty Ltd Information Systems Division (ISD) today introduced a series of local initiatives to ensure HD DVD is still the High Definition format suited to the wants and needs of consumers.

With strong dedicated player sales and the best and most consistent attachment rate for movies to players of any high definition format in the last 12 months, key initiatives include joint promotional activity with studios, as well as a revision to Toshiba’s Recommended Retail Prices[1]on its award-winning HD DVD player series. Consumers who purchase a Toshiba HD DVD player from January 23, 2008 will also gain bonus movie titles. Toshiba’s new Recommended Retail Prices (RRP) are designed to meet the demand for HD DVD players in the Australian market.

These moves will enable more consumers to enjoy the superior benefits of HD DVD, as well as gain the ability to up-scale their entire DVD movie collection via HDMITM output to near high definition picture quality. Toshiba plans to extend promotional campaigns that will further enhance consumer awareness of the benefits of HD DVD and drive sales to retail among potential consumers. Current and future feature enhancements include:

• picture in picture

• movie trailer downloads

• future release trailers

• online polls

• personality tests - Bourne Ultimatum, Heroes

• online shopping (US)

• Chat room access and;

• My Scenes – create favourite scenes and share them using time stamps with online community e.g. Bourne Ultimatum

“While it’s still early days for HD on optical disc, we can confirm that HD DVD performed strongly in 2007,” said Mark Whittard, General Manager, Toshiba (Australia) Pty Ltd ISD. “These new marketing investments, coupled with our aggressive new recommended retail pricing, will ensure HD DVD remains at the forefront of consumers’ minds in Australia.”

Competitive local HD DVD player pricing Consumers now have greatly affordable access to High Definition technology through Toshiba’s HD DVD player offer:

• HD-E1: $299 with one title inbox plus three titles via redemption

• HD-EP10: $399 with one title inbox plus five titles via redemption

• HD-XE1: $599 with one title inbox plus ten titles via redemption

HD DVD delivers on its promises Advanced interactivity and web-enabled network capabilities are built into every HD DVD player through a dedicated Ethernet connection, as mandated by the specifications approved by the DVD Forum. Through this, Toshiba continues to deliver on the promise of a consistent entertainment experience through firmware updates as studios launch new applications. HD DVD allows content makers to demonstrate their creative flair in ways that are technically impossible with DVD.

Universal Home Video, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG have reported that an average of 30 percent of HD DVD owners have accessed web-enabled network features and continue to do so regularly.

About Toshiba HD DVD Players With the HD DVD format, selected Toshiba HD DVD players allow consumers to experience true high definition 1080p for extraordinary resolution that matches the latest state of the art 1080p HDTVs. These same players display images at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate used by directors when using film to create motion pictures, for a smoother, true film-like viewing experience.

[1]This offer replaces any previous HD DVD cashback and redemption offers effective as of January 23, 2008.

Important Notes HD DVD with high-definition content required for HD viewing. Upscaling of DVD content will result in near HD picture quality. Viewing high-definition content and upscaling DVD content may require an HDCP capable DVI or HDMI input on your display device. 1080p capable display required for viewing content in 1080p. Firmware update may be required for some interactive features depending on content, which may also require an always-on broadband internet connection. Some features may require additional bandwidth. To take advantage of web-enabled network content, installing the latest firmware (ver.2.7 for HD-XE1, HD-E1 and HD-EP10) is required. Web-enabled network features require an always on broadband connection along with specific movie titles that include this form of content. For 24p output, content that was created in 1080p/24 frames/sec is required. Viewing 24p output requires an HD display capable of accepting a 1080p/24Hz signal. Dolby® Digital Plus, Dolby® TrueHD and DTS® support for up to 5.1 channels (DTS HD® support for DTS® core only). MP3/WMA audio files not supported. HDMI audio output requires connection to a PCM capable device. Because HD DVD is a new format that makes use of new technologies, certain disc, digital connection and other compatibility and/or performance issues are possible. This may, in rare cases, include disc freezing while accessing certain disc features or functions, or certain parts of the disc not playing back or operating as fully intended. If you experience such issues, please refer to the FAQ sections of www.toshibaav.com.au for information on possible work-around solutions or the availability of firmware updates that may resolve your problem, or contact a Toshiba Service Centre. Some features subject to delayed availability. While every effort has been made at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications, configurations, system/component/options availability are all subject to change without notice.

About Toshiba Toshiba’s Information Systems Division (ISD) is a division of Toshiba (Australia) Pty Limited which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Toshiba Corporation, the seventh largest integrated manufacturer of electric and electronic equipment, with around 191,000 employees worldwide, and annual sales of over A$73billion on a consolidated basis. Toshiba is the leader in the Australian notebook market, with 21.6% of the market in calendar year in 2006 (IDC) remaining as leader both in market share and revenue.

Unique among vendors, Toshiba ISD specialises exclusively in mobile solutions and services. A global reputation for quality has been achieved through an R&D budget, roughly equal to Australia’s total expenditure as a country in this area. Toshiba ISD extended its business in 2007 to include Toshiba’s audio visual (AV) products. This expansion is a consolidation of the company’s IT and AV technology offerings and drives Toshiba Corporation to be a key player in the Australian computing and home entertainment market.

Instrumental in the DVD revolution, Toshiba Corporation now introduces its HD DVD format, offering incredible image quality and realism where sound and pictures come to life. Continuing its commitment to innovation and market leadership, Toshiba is providing Australians with the next generation of High Definition products.

Since it pioneered the notebook market in 1985, Toshiba ISD has sold more than 1.75 million notebooks in Australia and New Zealand and in 2006 celebrated its 21st anniversary of providing market leading mobile computing solutions. Toshiba’s Virtual Pressroom: http://www.toshibaav.com.au/home.html