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Toshiba plans to retain discounted price on its entry-level HD DVD player in the U.S., an official from the company said during a conference last week. The move will allow the electronics giant to keep the format popular in the country, as competing Blu-ray disc (BD) players begin to become more affordable.

The entry-level Toshiba HD-A2 player will stay at $299 and the HD-A20 at $399. The top-line HD-XA2 remains $799, according to a news-story at Video Business web-site. Earlier the company ran a campaign when end-users could obtain HD-A-series HD DVD players at lowered price and get 5 HD DVD movies for free, however, after the campaign ended and Toshiba discovered that it was not as successful as it could be, the company had to slash its HD DVD players sales expectations quite significantly.

The reduction of HD DVD players’ pricing is a positive move from Toshiba, however, even at $299, the HD-A2 has still not approached mainstream price point. Meanwhile, customers willing to spend three hundred of dollars on a player are still afraid of such investment in the light of the ongoing war between Toshiba-backed HD DVD and Sony-backed Blu-ray disc. As a result, a number of analysts believe that dual-format players will be much more successful than devices supporting only BD or HD DVDs.

Nevertheless, speaking for the HD DVD Promotional Group, Universal Studios Home Entertainment executive vice president of HD strategic marketing Ken Graffeo said they’ve found that price is the biggest motivating factor for consumers when it comes to buying a player. In fact, the same thought was expressed by a Toshiba VP back in May ahead of the rebate promotion.

“We know that price is a powerful driver for consumers to adopt new technology, which is why our rebate promotion is a great incentive to bring cinema-quality, high definition movies into your home today,” said Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing at Toshiba America Consumer Products company.

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