HD DVD has beaten Blu-ray to a major sales milestone, becoming the first next-gen format to sell-through over 100,000 stand-alone players to consumers.
The figures were announced Tuesday by the North American HD DVD Promotions Group in a press release timed to coincide with the first anniversary of the launch of the format.
The 100K total does not include sales of HD DVD PC drives or the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on drive.
The majority of the HD DVD set-top players sold so far in the U.S. have been from Toshiba, which launched the format with two models in April 2006. Earlier this year, LG Electronics announced a dual HD DVD/Blu-ray player, and Samsung has also announced plans to release its own dual-format player later this year.
With an entry-level price point of $599 at launch, HD DVD set-top players cost about half of the then-cheapest Blu-ray stand-alone players. Toshiba further reduced its bottom-line HD DVD player to $399 on April 1 to spur more sales.
Though Blu-ray outpaces its rival in terms of total player penetration largely due to Sony's Blu-ray enabled PlayStation 3, the HD DVD Promotions Group and Toshiba are touting the HD DVD format's consistently aggressive pricing as the primary reason for the strong sales of stand-alone decks.
"Toshiba remains committed to drive sales with strategic pricing and marketing to complement the rapid market adoption of HDTVs," said Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products, in a prepared statement. "Retailers are showing a significant increase in sales volume this month so far. On Amazon.com, our HD DVD players continue to rank among the Top 10 bestsellers of all DVD players, which says a lot about how consumers relate to price."
How long HD DVD can enjoy its lead in stand-alone player sales versus Blu-ray, however, remains to be seen. Aside from the PS3, whose popular 60GB model retails for $599, Sony has announced plans to also debut a $599 stand-alone player this summer, which will help close the gap with HD DVD pricing. Stay tuned...