AfterDawn: Tech news

Wal-mart will offer under-$300 HD players

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 24 Apr 2007 12:24 User comments (18)

Wal-mart will offer under-$300 HD players Reports have been coming in from many sources claiming that Wal-Mart is ordering 2 million high definition players produced by the Great Wall Corporation in China and developed by TDK in an effort to sell inexpenisve next generation players. The reports claim the players will be sold for under $300 USD however the type of next generation player is still up for debate.
A translation of the Chinese reports indicate that the players are “Blu-ray (or blue light) HD DVD players" which is confusing as both formats use blue or violet lasers. Until there is an English announcement we may not know which format the players are intended for.

Wal-Mart spokesperson Mellissa O’Brien would not comment on the apparent deal between the retailer and its Chinese manufacturing partners, but did offer to Home Media Magazine, “[Most] of the shoppers asking about and purchasing either Blu-ray or HD DVD are already pretty savvy technically about both — they are the kind of consumer that absolutely wants the very best and latest in quality that's available. It's not quite yet a product the average shopper is attune too, but we anticipate that will change very soon as prices continue to come down.”

If the new player is an HD-DVD player it will be $100 cheaper than the next closest standalone player, an entry level player by Toshiba. If it is a Blu-Ray player, the price will $300 cheaper than the next closest player, Sony's PlayStation 3.

The reports are interesting and we will keep you up to date on any updates including release date.

Source:
Dailytech

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18 user comments

124.4.2007 13:58

This is just the beginning. Prices are now beginning to drop as more and More manufacturers are going to produce the players so I think by this time next year we should start seeing affordable HD players that play both HD-DVD and Blu-ray in one player. Makes me feel bad for those people that "had to have" a next gen player when they first came out or are now stuck with player that plays only one HD format.

224.4.2007 14:18
hughjars
Inactive

The original reports in Chinese on the avsforums are dotted with 'HD-DVD' in plain English.



http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthrea...32&page=1&pp=30

There's also this report and it's quite clearly HD DVD -

Quote:
US$101 million US investment, for 2 million HD DVD drives at $50 each for HD DVD players to be sold by Wal-Mart. It's a joint venture between Wal-Mart, Fu Yuan, TDK, and Great Wall.
Article in Chinese:

http://www.udn.com/2007/4/16/NEWS/ST.../3804769.shtml

It's only been on a handful of internet sites that the BD fanclub, straw-clutchers and FUD spreaders are desperately trying to convince folks this might mean BD - they scored a hit on the Engadet site getting them to caveat their original story - but why would anyone believe them, huh?

If it were a case of BD 'good news' the BD PR dept would have shouted loud and clear about nothing else but this for the next 6 mths and how this would 'prove' HD-DVD was finally to be knocked out of the game.
They'd have done it to death a million times over already.
They haven't.
Why?
Cos they know they'd only look stupid caught out on such a damaging public lie.
That's why they leave it to the fanboys to spread a 'maybe' tale until the official truth comes out.

The truth is this is a story about HD-DVD and their game-plan (which was never the same short-termist approach as BD's) coming to the boil.

It's how come those little ratios and percentages of BD movie sales are meaningless when the market itself is so immature and tiny.

This story is actually the biggest indicator yet that the real battle hasn't even started yet, as the head of Universal said only recently.
It'll begin in the last quarter of 2007 and will last for maybe 2 years after that.

The mainstream mass-market, that's where it's at and Walmart (who hold 40% of the SD DVD market) and several million inexpensive HD-DVD players are set to take that for HD-DVD......along with the 3 other inexpensive Chinese HD-DVD players also due in Q4 of 2007.

The most likely outcome of this being, IMO, that BD is relegated to yet another failed Sony proprietary brand.

Watch more of the previously exclusive BD hardware manufacturers join Samsung and LG abandon that stance and bail to go 'dual format' in the next 12mths.

It was actually a stated aim of BD not to go down the path of much cheap(er) production, so as to maintain profitability (particularly in view of their hugely expensive initial investment in BD).

It was HD-DVD that licenced Chinese companies in 2005.

It was HD-DVD that, with the Microsoft/Broadcom deal done at CES 2007, has set up the infrastructure to do this.

BD already has some Chinese connections (wake up folks, where do you think parts for your PS3s are coming from right now, hmmmm?) but in any case simply cannot match HD-DVD costs structure - the BD drive has more parts and thanks to the unnecessarily high spec they saddled themselves with it requires more more expensive components.

We also have already had a 'Funai to produce a cheap(er) BD player in China' announced a while back (at $500).
http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,129106-pg,1/article.html

Now that HD-DVD is also engaged in multi-million production the economies of scale BD were relying upon to help them out with their price disadvantage vis HD-DVD have vanished, thus locking them into permanently higher prices.

BD's has had little more than a pyrrhic victory, a wholly inconsequential and deeply underwhelming 1.2 million sales (when there are 3 million supposed BD players out there) when the total disc market is over 750 million right now.

It's the cracking of that total disc market that is the real and strategic 'war', not the froth and nonsense the BD side have obsessed with to date.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Apr 2007 @ 14:21

324.4.2007 14:37

god even at $200, i would not jump on the bandwagon yet.

I bought my first DVD for $100.

424.4.2007 14:47

Dont go to Wal-Mart Your ruining other stores

524.4.2007 14:51

No, other store's decision to stick with higher prices when they could sell more at a lower price, is what is killing the other stores in comparison to walmart.

624.4.2007 15:15

This shows HD DVD will have more chance. I bought my first dvd player for $70

724.4.2007 15:17

Originally posted by rihgt682:
This shows HD DVD will have more chance. I bought my first dvd player for $70
I kind of agree and I think consumers will decide which format wins this "war". I think HD-DVD has the potential to drop in price faster for both the players and the discs than Blu-ray and that may be the ultimate decision maker.

824.4.2007 15:43

Quote:
A translation of the Chinese reports indicate that the players are “Blu-ray (or blue light)
I thought blue light specials were a K-Mart exclusive. Watch out Wally World, you may be in for a law suit.

924.4.2007 18:07




It is my belief that they will look something like this mock-up(or be spelled Blue Lite), and will have a gaudy bright-blue light that is brighter than your TV. hahahaa

They already sell "BlueSky" brand Chinese players in Europe and Asia, btw.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 24 Apr 2007 @ 18:08

1025.4.2007 2:24
hughjars
Inactive

Quote:
[quote]A translation of the Chinese reports indicate that the players are “Blu-ray (or blue light).

I thought blue light specials were a K-Mart exclusive. Watch out Wally World, you may be in for a law suit.
- The truth is the article uses the term 'Blue light HD DVD' to differentiate between the red laser HD DVD used in China.

.....and I see the tack now is to say they're ugly, talk about 'zing'. FFS.

......that's also staggeringly rich when you think of some of the bloated 2 tone 'try (and fail to) hide the bulk' fugly horrors the BD side has released.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Apr 2007 @ 2:26

1125.4.2007 2:24

Guys, it's all over... here is what the companies said about it (copied from ps3 dot com):

Quote:

Yet another update to the most misreported (or at least mistranslated) story of the year:

As has been reported here (and everywhere else) Engadget got ahold of a press release, apparently from Chinese manufacturer Fuh Yuan, indicating that Walmart had placed an order for 2,000,000 HD DVD players, which was then later retracted due to an odd translation, leading some to think that Walmart was instead ordering Blu-ray players. What remained odd was that no press release was ever issued by Walmart, the HD DVD or Blu-ray promotions groups, or anyone else who would be involved. Fuh Yuan also failed to clarify this "story" and industry "insiders" posting on internet messageboards had no idea what was happening.

A CED Industry Newsletter that was posted in the news section here, is now apparently reporting the following:

Quote:
Sources we queried who are familiar with HD DVD licensing and Chinese OEMs were flummoxed by the reports. Neither Fuh Yuan nor Great Wall appear on any rosters of DVD and HD DVD licensees. Our search of major English-language newspapers and news services in Taiwan, China and Hong Kong didn't turn up any reports on Fuh Yuan or Great Wall or the purported deal with Wal-Mart. From translations of the Fuh Yuan announcement we've seen, it was part of a ramp-up for an IPO the company will launch in July.


And now Engadget has posted a retraction of the earlier article here

Quote:
The biggest news to hit the format war in some time hit last week with word that Wal-Mart and China's Great Wall corporation struck a deal to bring inexpensive HD DVD players to market. While this is would be great news for all HD fans, we were left a bit worrisome by the translation dispute between the two camps. Just to make sure we had our facts straight, we updated the post and contacted HD DVD to get the full story. While the HD DVD camp reminded us that they have inexpensive players from China on the way, they weren't able to confirm any "specific reports relating to Wal-Mart". It seems to us that if this were indeed true, that the HD DVD camp would be the first to trumpet its significance to their success in the format war. As much as we all want inexpensive next generation HD disc players, we will just have to wait for something more official before we hold off on our purchases waiting for Wal-Mart.


So, who knows what's going on with this? As much attention as this has gotten, it really doesn't bode well for the integrity of Engadget that they've essentially retracted this story twice: once to say it "might" be Blu-ray players, and now a second time saying the whole deal might not exist.

Could this release have been the optimistic writings of a pre-IPO Chinese company that HOPES to get enough money in an IPO to produce HD DVD players, which they THINK they can make very cheaply, and that they HOPE to sell to Walmart? That's definitely a different story, altogether.

1225.4.2007 2:25
hughjars
Inactive

Wake up.

It isn't a BD deal.

No matter what your BD fanzine site says.

Try reading the documents, they used the term 'Blue light HD DVD' to differentiate between the red laser HD DVD used in China.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 25 Apr 2007 @ 2:27

1325.4.2007 7:58

With a 2 million player order, Walmart will end the format war, whichever one it chooses.

1425.4.2007 8:23

Originally posted by DraTs:
No, other store's decision to stick with higher prices when they could sell more at a lower price, is what is killing the other stores in comparison to walmart.
wrong. walmart takes a loss in income to drive other stores out of business, then makes their money back charging whatever they want while offering their disposable employees no benefits, horrid pay, and no loyalty whatsoever.

feeding a monopoly only results in the consumer paying more money for inferior products and services.





and i'll be staying away from HD for a long time. a player this cheap, this early, has to have some horrible quality issues.

1525.4.2007 15:02

This is nothing new that they will bring cheaper players to the market. The only thing that surprised me is how quickly their brining it out usually it would take a few years before these types of players come out.

1625.4.2007 17:00

Quote:
and i'll be staying away from HD for a long time. a player this cheap, this early, has to have some horrible quality issues
I would stick with Auslanders quote. It would be the quality of a GoVideo
player from Costco.

1725.4.2007 19:54

Wal-Mart already has sub $300 Toshiba HD-DVD players on close-out AND THEY ARE MOVING VERY SLOWLY!

What makes people think that a sub-$200 Fuyhan special is going to be any better?

By the way, upcoming new releases from Bluray in May:


Dreamgirls May 01, 2007
Happily N'Ever After May 01, 2007
Battle of the Bulge May 08, 2007
Catch and Release May 08, 2007
Dirty Dancing May 08, 2007
Donnie Brasco: Extended Cut May 08, 2007
Revenge: Director's Cut May 08, 2007
The Fountain May 15, 2007
The Road Warrior May 15, 2007
Stomp the Yard May 15, 2007
Apocalypto May 22, 2007
Closer May 22, 2007
Flags of Our Fathers May 22, 2007
Freedom Writers May 22, 2007
Letters from Iwo Jima May 22, 2007
Mission Impossible May 22, 2007
Mission Impossible II May 22, 2007
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest May 22, 2007
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl May 22, 2007
Basic Instinct: Director's Cut

1827.4.2007 19:21

Quote:
[quote]A translation of the Chinese reports indicate that the players are “Blu-ray (or blue light)
I thought blue light specials were a K-Mart exclusive. Watch out Wally World, you may be in for a law suit.[/quote]Lmao. I nearly fell off my chair.

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