It's been about 18 months since Blu-ray officially defeated HD-DVD in the high-def format war, and while sales of Blu-ray players have surged since then, one thing has prevented a lot of people from taking the plunge: the &$*@ players are still too *#&@* expensive. There have been other factors too, of course -- we just converted to DVD a few years ago; the difference in picture quality over DVD isn't great enough to justify re-buying all those movies; etc. -- but obviously sales would skyrocket if the cost would come down.

The general theory has been that $100 was the magic number, that once Blu-ray players dropped below that price everyone would buy them. As usual, Wal-Mart is the first to give it a shot. EngadgetHDreports that Wal-Mart has permanently reduced the price of a particular Magnavox Blu-ray player from $168 to $98. It's not the top-of-the-line player, of course, and Magnavox isn't a high-end brand for Blu-ray anyway -- but that doesn't matter to the average consumer. As one of Engadget's commenters points out, it was a huge boon to DVD sales when Wal-Mart first sold a crappy DVD player for less than $100. This could potentially do the same for Blu-ray, not just through Wal-Mart sales (although that's a great way to get the format into lots of American homes) but because this will inspire other retailers to do the same thing. Once one Blu-ray player is available for $98, people will start wondering -- even more than they already do -- why the others are so much more expensive.
categories Features, Cinematical