Although supplies were very limited, retailers began selling Toshiba's first HD DVD players last week, accompanied by a smattering of titles from the home video divisions of Warner Bros. and Universal Studios.
Many dealers reported rapidly selling out of the limited number of players (typically between 2 to 5 units at many Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Sears locations) after opening doors on April 18, which is when the first HD DVD movies were publicized to arrive.
Toshiba said it initially shipped between 10,000 and 15,000 players to approximately 3,000 storefronts across the country. More shipments will be ramping up shortly.
In most stores, Toshiba delivered its entry HD-A1 player, which carries a $499.99 street price. The step-up HD-XA1 had more limited distribution, with its $799.99 expected street price.
Toshiba is supporting the rollout with several consumer promotions and an extensive advertising campaign highlighting the consumer benefits of HD DVD. The post-launch effort follows a 40-city pre-launch tour.
The company also announced a promotion with Netflix for online rental of HD DVD movie titles. Consumers who purchase an HD DVD player will get a Netflix coupon, included inside the box, good for one free month of DVD rentals, including HD DVD, via Netflix.com.
The related television and print ad campaign uses the “So real you can feel it” slogan. The television commercial targets consumers who are already enjoying HD content via broadcast, and will appear on high-definition channels, Toshiba said.
The spots, like the print ads, will play up “the immersive feeling that HD DVD provides,” the company said. Consumers are directed to www.toshibahddvd.com, where they can find a list of available HD DVD titles, local retailers who carry the players and additional product information.