Sony Corp. CEO Howard Stringer told reporters yesterday that the next generation DVD format war between Sony-backed Blu-ray and rival HD DVD is essentially a, “stalemate” at this point, playing down the repercussions of the battle as merely a struggle for prestige in the consumer electronics industry.
The statement comes less than a two weeks after Sony and the Blu-ray Disc Association announced a $40 million ad campaign to bolster support for the format during the holidays, and a week after chief HD DVD proponent Toshiba Corp. and Wal-Mart announced plans to offer an entry-level HD DVD player for less than $100 (with better-equipped HD DVD players readied for the holiday shopping season for only $200).
Earlier this year, momentum was clearly in Sony and Blu-ray’s favor because of the format’s larger capacity, greater disc sales and steadily growing interest in the Blu-ray equipped PlayStation 3; however, movie studio support has since shifted and the steady pricing pressure from HD DVD backers has helped sustain the fight longer than many analysts anticipated. Going into what is seen as a critical sales period for both camps, the lowest-priced HD DVD player on the market is less than half the cost of the lowest-priced Blu-ray player. Major retailers such as Wal-Mart have also announced plans to offer HD DVD movie discs for as low as $15 during the holiday shopping season.
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