Toshiba revealed its third generation HD DVD players at the CEDIA show today rolling out its most affordable line of HD DVD players with Web-enabled network capabilities.
To build momentum, Toshiba also announced new HD DVD marketing initiatives and consumer promotions, including a season-long promotional campaign with NBC Television Station Group for Sunday Night Football broadcasts, a free two movie bundle with third generation players and a new five free HD DVD movie promotion.
"Web-enabled network capabilities, available on HD DVD, illustrate how Toshiba is delivering on its commitment to provide consumers with the ultimate home entertainment experience in high definition. With this new line, a growing base of HDTV consumers can now look forward to an unrivaled home theater experience this fall," aid Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing, Toshiba?s Digital A/V Group.
Toshiba?s third generation family starts with the entry level HD-A3 player featuring 1080i output capability. The other two new models, Toshiba?s HD-A30 and HD-A35, will output 1080p resolution (1920 x 1080p). Both models are capable of outputting signals at 1080p/24 frames per second. The HD-A30 and HD-A35 models also feature "CE-Link" (HDMI-CEC), allowing two-way control between the HD DVD player and a TV through an HDMI connection.
With a new slim design, Toshiba?s third generation players have a cabinet that is approximately ?-inch slimmer than second generation models. All of Toshiba?s HD DVD models are backward compatible with DVDs and CDs while improving the picture quality of regular DVDs by upconverting them through an HDMI connection to near high definition quality.
To further drive HD DVD sales this fall, Toshiba also announced today a number of exciting new marketing initiatives and promotions. Toshiba announced a season-long promotional campaign with the NBC Television Station Group and its broadcasts of Sunday Night Football with Bob Costas and Tiki Barber. This includes 30 second HD DVD ads, web sponsorships promoting the format, as well as special on-air vignettes that will build awareness and educate consumers about HD DVD throughout the holidays and into 2008.
In addition, Toshiba is offering consumers free movies with the purchase of their third generation players. With Toshiba?s new bundle promotion, consumers will take home the highly acclaimed HD DVDs "300" from Warner Home Video and "The Bourne Identity" from Universal Studios Home Entertainment.
In addition to its bundle promotion, Toshiba announced "The Perfect HD Offer," which will begin on October 1st 2007 and continue until February 28th 2008. As a result, with the purchase of any Toshiba HD DVD player, consumers will be able to select five HD DVD titles for free, from a selection of 15, via a mail-in offer. Full offer details will be available at http://www.toshibahddvd.com.
Thanks to the Ethernet port and persistent storage built into every Toshiba HD DVD player from the first generation models, studios have the ability to take movies to a higher level by allowing users to connect directly to their server and access bonus features as available. Examples of this access can include movie trailers for new releases or the ability to share favorite scenes with other HD DVD player owners. Consumers may also purchase movie-related merchandise, ringtones and more without having to turn on their computers.
With available firmware updates, Toshiba is able to keep a consumer?s HD DVD player current by providing improved performance, new features and other capabilities to make the HD DVD experience consistent with what the studios have to offer. Today Toshiba is also announcing that in mid-September, a firmware update will be available for its second generation players. The update will bring 1080p/24 frames per second capability to its HD-XA2 and HD-A20 models.
Momentum Continues to Grow
This fall, with the availability of Toshiba?s third generation players, and a significant increase in the rollout of HD DVD movie titles ? expected to increase from 300 to 1,000 titles by the end of the year ? "momentum for HD DVD is undeniable," Toshiba claims.
"With the recent announcement by Paramount and DreamWorks Animation SKG to exclusively support HD DVD, in addition to studio support from Universal and Warner, New Line Cinema and HBO, consumers now have even greater reason to supplement their HDTV purchase with a high def HD DVD movie experience," said Yoshi Uchiyama, Group Vice President, Toshiba America Digital A/V Group. "New players, new promotions, new movie titles and new studio partners are all evidence that HD DVD is delivering the ultimate high definition experience to the broader consumer market."
Toshiba also said that its players combined with the first sub-$200 high-def stand-alone players from Venturer, will give HD DVD the edge this fourth quarter. Today (September 7) is held the Opening Ceremony of CHDA,
(China HDV DVD Association) in Jade Palace Hotel, Beijing. The DVD Forum representatives, which support the HD DVD format, annouced the foundation of the CH-DVD (China High Definition DVD), a Chinese-owned format based on HD DVD format. The penetration of the HD DVD format in the Chinese market may significantly boost the sales and popularity of the HD DVD format.
Sony, however, claimed that Blu-ray Disc set-top players within the last nine weeks have begun out-selling the long dominant HD DVD format on a unit basis, citing recent NPD Group research.
Toshiba fought back with statistics showing that year-to-date through July, Toshiba HD DVD players enjoyed a 55% market share.