Chicago (IL) - As Microsoft announces a $299 Xbox 360, we are noticing Blu-ray player prices diving as well and distancing themselves from the Blu-ray-equipped PlayStation 3 for the very first time. Patience and luck may get you a $300 Blu-ray player in the not too distant future.
$300 is seen as a critical price point that will help Blu-ray to be adopted by a much broader audience. Browsing this weekend’s ad sections in your local newspaper indicates that first-gen Blu-ray players are on their way to drop below $300. Among the offers we spotted is Sony’s BDP-S300 for $359.99 (down $40 as part of a closeout) and Panasonic’s DMP-BD30K for $449.99 (down $50) at Circuit City. Best Buy is offering a house-brand Insignia player for $329.99, which even comes with a $100 instant-coupon that can be used towards Blu-ray movies. Yes, it is marketing, but since you have to buy Blu-ray movies anyway, this rebate is almost as good as cash. And if you are looking at this deal from this side, this deal may be the very first Blu-ray player in the U.S. breaking the $250 mark.
We briefly checked average retail prices of Blu-ray players and there are clear signs that Blu-ray player prices are dropping, most likely in preparation of the introduction of next-gen BD-Live players. The cheapest Blu-ray player you can buy today appears to be Samsung’s BD-P1400, which currently sells for an average of $288. Following are Sony’s BDP-S300 with $348, Philips’ BDP7200 for $370, Samsung’s BDP-P1500 for $376 and Sharp’s BD-HP20U for $392. All other generally available Blu-ray players are listed with average selling prices of more than $400.
Supplies of HD-DVD players are pretty much gone, but you may still be able to get your hands on a device, if you have to. Pricegabber says that Toshiba’s HD-A3 is selling for an average of $141, while Samung’s BD-UP5000 Blu-ray/HD DVD player is selling for about $450 and LG’s BH200 hybrid player for an average of $532.