Amazon Drops Price of HD DVD Player to $99, Upconvert DVD w/ Free Movies?

HD DVDFor anyone keeping score since Blu-ray won the next generation movie battle, HD DVD players are now $99. And that’s with 7 movies included. Considering these players also work well as upconvert DVD players (DVD players that convert and play regular DVDs at a slightly higher picture quality), in some ways, it’s actually the best deal on the market if you’re looking for a good DVD player.

If you value the 7 movies included (incidentally, most regular DVD players don’t come with free movies like this) at the discounted price of $10 per movie, then you’re effectively getting a nice DVD player for about $30. Retailer is using similar logic, as it relabeled all its HD DVD players for sale as upconvert DVD players (but Play’s deal isn’t nearly as good as Amazon’s).

And remember that Blu-ray players are well into the $300 price range. The best deal available is really the Playstation 3 for around $400; you may as well get a gaming console if you’re already willing to spend over $300 for the next generation of movies. I agree with Saul Hansell who writes for the NYTimes blog BITS:

“I suspect Sony’s Blu-ray will have a hard time for a few years, but not because of downloading… The competition for Blu-ray players is the latest generation of DVD players that can generate a high-definition picture from a standard-definition disc.”

*Update* There’s a rumor floating around that the Xbox 360 HD DVD player will be dropping to $49. It currently includes 6 movies with purchase (until the end of February 2008).

  • Wow, that’s a good deal. You can’t get movies for $10 anywhere, either. Only bummer in the whole thing is that your free DVDs seem to have to be HD-DVDs, which – oddly enough – will end up being less “future proof” than the standard defs.

    And the more I think on it, the more I think you and Saul are dead on regarding Blu-Ray’s competition. Upconverting will be the way to HD for a lot of consumers who buy mostly on price.

  • Paul Ellis

    Since Blu-ray won, I’ve basically decided that I’m going to do up-converted DVDs and HD downloads via Xbox Live. I’m not paying $300 for a player, and really you’d be insane to buy any Blu-ray player other than a PS3 since it is the only one that will be future-proof. You’ll have to buy a remote and cables for it though so the price is more like $450.

  • Paul Ellis

    Also, if you are looking for 1080p up-converting the next tier model is only $30 more.

  • Kevin,

    I don’t know the exact ratios, but many HD DVDs are actually dual format and work as regular DVDs as well. I think about half of my freebies (from when I went for this deal) are this way. And that was just on accident (I didn’t make sure to pick only the dual discs).

  • Chupacabra

    “The competition for Blu-ray players is the latest generation of DVD players that can generate a high-definition picture from a standard-definition disc”

    This is totally false. There is no “latest generation of DVD players” that can generate a high-definition picture from an SD disc. They can upconvert the 480 lines to 1080 lines, but so can your TV.

    No matter how you slice it, you’re still stuck with 480 lines of original resolution. You can’t make something out of nothing, and while upconverting standard DVDs can make them look slightly better, they are in no way, shape, or form anywhere near HD quality. Not even close.

  • Chupacabra,

    Interesting semantic argument. True, it would have been more correct if it read “high-definition like picture.” But then again, your use of “totally” as part of “totally false” was about as inaccurate. After all, it’s not “totally false” that DVD players are competition for Blu-ray… Careful when you make a semantic argument; it can come back on you.

  • Paul Ellis

    I agree that DVDs will give Blu-ray a pretty good fight. This isn’t like VHS vs. DVD where no matter what equipment you have the DVD clearly looks better. Many people still don’t have HDTVs, and even if the do have one it is probably 42″ or smaller. From 10 feet away on those size screens most/many people can’t tell the difference between a good up-converted DVD and Blu-ray/HD-DVD. I can, but many people can’t. And even if they can, how much better is it going to be? The marginal increase in the viewing experience may be too small to matter.

  • Luke

    Where is the website that is giving you 10 free DVDs with the purchase of the Toshiba HD-DVD player?

  • Luke, it looks like that promotion is now over. The player sold through Amazon (via the link in the post above) just comes with two movies now…

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