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Toshiba’s and Wal Mart’s campaign to sell entry-level HD DVD players for as low as $198 may not be limited only to the particular retail stores chain, but may turn out to be a regular price-cut with huge publicity. If this assumption is correct, then HD DVD format will get a strong boost in the U.S. this holiday season.

Currently Circuit City, an online shop and a big chain of retail stores, lists Toshiba HD-A2 on its web-site for $197.99, or $0.01 less compared to the price at Wal Mart. Meanwhile, Best Buy, another retail giant that also runs online store, lists Toshiba HD-A2 and Toshiba HD-A20 for $299 and $399 as “sold out”, which may be an indicator that the company is gearing up to start selling them at considerably lower price-points. Additionally, some other online stores have started to list Toshiba’s low-cost HD DVD player at $199 and below.

Toshiba HD-A2 is an entry-level HD DVD player capable of HD DVD, DVD and CD playback as well as hardware decoding of H.264 (MPEG4 AVC), VC-1 and MPEG2 (standard DVD) streams. Additionally, the player features Sharc DSP to process audio in Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD (2 channel), DTS and DTS-HD formats. The player can output video in 720p (1280x720) and 1080i (1920x1080) resolutions using HDMI or component interconnection and multi-channel audio using HDMI or S/PDIF connectors.

Late last week Wal Mart announced plans to start selling Toshiba HD-A2 player at $198, which was considered as a good news for the whole HD DVD camp. Now it looks like that Toshiba decided to cut the price of the player by $100 for this holiday season.

Even though earlier Toshiba HD-A2 players cost $299 before and numerous stores bundled five HD DVD movies with them, meaning that the value of the whole package was no less than the value of the player now, low-cost HD DVD players can attract attention of the masses to high-definition video. Unfortunately, given that HD DVDs still cost more than typical DVDs, the former will still attract more advanced buyers, who know what high-definition actually is.

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