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It’s Official: Toshiba Cuts HD DVD Pricing

Toshiba made official its long-rumored HD DVD player price cuts, dropping the expected retail price by $100 for the entry HD-A2 (to $399) and the step-up HD-A20 (to $499). The top-of-the-line HD-XA2 ($799) received a $200 price cut earlier.

Jodi Sally, Toshiba A/V products marketing VP, confirmed the prices to TWICE.

New York City retailer Datavision is adding to the new prices a $50 instant rebate. In addition, purchasers of any of the players qualify for five free HD DVD titles offered through a separate offer.

Sally denied speculation that Toshiba had made the price step because Sony had recently announced plans to sell a $599 Blu-ray Disc player later this year, and Samsung’s Blu-ray model has been aggressively price promoted on the Internet.

“Price moves like this are planned pretty far in advance,” she said. “It has always been our strategy to really plan strategic pricing and promotions long-term with this category.”

The instant rebates advertised by Datavision are offered by the retailer and not backed by Toshiba, she said.

Sales of HD DVD players have been doing well this year, Sally said.

“As of last week, was showing the HD-A2 and the HD-XA2 players in the No. 5 and No. 6 spots of all DVD players,” she said.

Shortly thereafter, the DVD Promotional Group announced more than 70 new HD DVD title releases planned for spring and summer deliveries from Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment, The Weinstein Company, Genius Products and Eagle Rock Entertainment.

Among the key titles will be “Smokin’ Aces,” “The Complete Matrix Trilogy” and “Dreamgirls.” In addition, a number of discs will be released in the combo HD DVD/DVD flipper format, and some will have day-and-date release windows with the DVD versions.

Meanwhile, the HD DVD Promotions Group said the attach rate of software to players continues to exceed the rival Blu-ray Disc format.

The following lists the announced HD DVD titles in order of the month of release:

March: “Children of Men,” “Happy Feet,” “March of the Penguins” and “National Geographic: Relentless Enemies.”

April: “The Good Shepherd” (combo disc) (day and date), “Smokin’ Aces” (combo disc) (day and date), “Payback: Straight, The Director’s Cut,” “A Scanner Darkly,” “Dog Day Afternoon,” “School for Scoundrels,” “The Game,” “The Jerk,” “Feast,” “Freedom Writers” (day and date), “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” “Nutty Professor” and “Failure to Launch.”

May: “The Ultimate Matrix Collection: The Complete Matrix Trilogy,” “Dreamgirls” (day and date), “The 40-Year Old Virgin Unrated,” “Flags of Our Fathers: Special Collector’s Edition,” “The Hitcher” (combo disc) (day and date), “Mission: Impossible,” “Mission: Impossible 2,” “Black Christmas,” “Harsh Times,””The Battle of the Bulge,” “The Road Warrior,” “The Fountain,” “Smokey & The Bandit,” “Alpha Dog” (combo disc) (day and date), “The Skeleton Key,” “The River,” “Midnight Run,” “The Frighteners,” “Dragonheart,” “The Big Lebowski” and “Lost in Translation.”

June: “Bruce Almighty,” “Liar Liar,” “Coming To America,” “Born on the 4th of July,” “Daylight,” “Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life,” “Freedom: Vol.1,” “Yes Live in Montreux,” “Santana: Hymns for Peace,” “Deep Purple: They all Came Down to Montreux,” “Sneakers,” “Trading Places,” “Meet Joe Black,” “Being John Malkovich,” “Mystery Men,” “American Me,” “The Watcher,” “Bulletproof” and “Mallrats.”

July: “Shaun of the Dead,” “Billy Madison,” “The Cat in the Hat,” “The Untouchables,” “The Warriors,” “Dante’s Peak,” “The War,” “The Wedding Date,” “The Bourne Identity,” “In Good Company,” “Streets of Fire,” “Nutty Professor 2,” “Scent of a Woman,” “Darkman,” “Sea of Love” and “Deliver Us From Eva.”