It's official. After weeks of rumors, Wal-Mart has begun selling Toshiba's second-gen HD-A2 HD DVD player for $198, setting a new low-price record for a stand-alone next-gen player.
Although reports of a rollback for the HD-A2 first surfaced earlier this month, it wasn't until the middle of this week that consumers began spotting endcaps with that magic price cropping up at select Wal-Mart locations nationwide.
In an article first published by Fortune Magazine, Wal-Mart spokesperson Melissa O'Brien confirmed the price cut and denied rumors that each Wal-Mart store would stock only 18 units of the Toshiba player, saying "there are no limited quantities for stores or purchases."
The spokesperson would not comment on the retail giant's holiday plans for HD DVD and Blu-ray, other than to say "we know HD DVD and Blu-ray are going to be popular items this holiday season for some of our customers."
Toshiba's 1080i HD-A2 was originally released this past January at a retail price of $499, but is now available at various retailers at prices ranging from $230-280. The HD-A2's successor -- the third-generation HD-A3 -- is due to hit stores November 1 with a list price of $299.
Wal-Mart says the $198 price for the HD-A2 is being offered for in-store purchases only (their website still lists it at $274).
(Thanks to HDD forum member exrob for the photo!)