Short Supply of New Players to Dull High-Def's Holiday?

Posted Mon Oct 16, 2006 at 01:01 AM PDT by
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An influx of new HD DVD and Blu-ray models will be shipping to stores nationwide this Christmas, so why are retailers scaling back sales expectations?

That's according to Video Business, who found that despite new Blu-ray player models from Sony, Philips and Panasonic, two second-gen HD DVD decks from Toshiba and huge anticipation for both the Blu-ray-driven PlayStation 3 game console and the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on drive, manufacturers are trimming back on shipments and leaving retailers with depressed fourth quarter sales expectations.

"All the manufacturers are being fairly careful about putting something together that works," Frank Roshinski, merchandising VP for electronics chain Tweeter told VB. "[But] it's a little bit frustrating -- I want to get this out and sell."

Retailers expressed particular disappointment that despite poor reviews of early Blu-ray software and Samsung's first Blu-ray player, the much-maligned BD-P1000, other manufacturers were not being more aggressive with new model introductions.

"The consumer electronics business is such that normally when they see their competition falling down, they'll try to take the most advantage," added Jeannette Howe, executive director of electronics retailer Nationwide. "But nobody is doing that. It is concerning why they aren't being more aggressive with quantities. With the PS3 [shortage situation], why aren't they changing strategies?"

To us, a wealth of new HD DVD and Blu-ray players can be nothing but good news, both to help bolster the format's awareness with consumers as well as offer potential high-def consumers a more encouraging array of models to choose from. However, with stock remaining so potentially limited, it is no surprise many retailers have already refocused on the 2007 holiday season as high-def's true coming-out party.

"This Christmas, expectations are limited," said Roshinski, who cited about 1,000 Toshiba HD DVD players and about 660 Samsung Blu-ray players sold so far at his 150-store chain. "But by next Christmas, we should really be able to do the business."