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Price, not format war fears, holds back Blu-ray, says survey

Toshiba more in tune with punters' plans than Sony?

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Toshiba has judged its HD DVD strategy correctly, according to consumer research from price comparison service Pricegrabber. What's stopping punters picking Blu-ray Disc is not the risk of backing the loser in the format war as the high price of players.

During January, Pricegrabber listed HD DVD players priced between $144 and $633, with the average price coming in at $292. By comparison, Blu-ray player ran from $341 to $800, the average price being recorded as $467.

Separately, a 2185-respondent customer survey carried out by Pricegrabber online in the US found that 56 per cent of respondents interested in going Blu said they won't make the move until the price of players comes down.

Only 19 per cent identified the format war as the mean reason they're not buying straight away.

Out of the whole sample, 24 per cent said they were going to buy Blu-ray in the next 12 months and 21 per cent said they would go for HD DVD. To the Blu-ray group you can almost certainly add many of the 14 per cent who said they plan to buy an "integrated video game console", since the Blu-ray equipped PS3 is currently the only such device with a hi-def player built-in.

Still, 11 per cent identified a new DVD machine as their choice of HD disc player, presumably because they're satisfied with higher-end players' upscaling abilities, or they're among the 54 per cent of respondents who don't own an HD TV.

That leaves 46 per cent of them that do, and of late Toshiba has been pushing its HD DVD players' DVD upscaling qualities. It's also been busily cutting the players' prices to maintain a clear price lead over its rivals. Both schemes tap into trends confirmed by the Pricegrabber survey.

Three-quarters of the survey's respondents said they were planning to buy a new, HD-capable disc player this year, but that still leaves a hefty chunk who are happy with their existing kit. Just under 30 per cent have their hearts set on an HD TV.

Disclaimer: Register Hardware uses Pricegrabber for price-comparison data

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