Blu-ray Built-In

When I was in a Costco last week, I looked for some smaller LCD HDTVs with built-in DVD players, but couldn’t find any. I asked one of the store staff, and he told me that they used to carry such models but don’t anymore. (I did notice that Best Buy and Circuit City both had some combo-models for sale.)

Now comes news from Sharp that the company plans to build in DVD players into some larger screens offered for sale in the United States. And these are not small sets; the new models are 42″ and 32″ according to a report in TWICE. What sets these apart from other combo models is that the DVD players will be high-def Blu-ray.

It’s an intriguing move on Sharp’s part. American consumers still view Blu-ray as too expensive and not enough better than standard DVD to be worth three or four times the cost. So maybe this is a strategy to try to get more Blu-ray players installed by bundling them with the TV. The fact that the sets are 32″ and 42″ are not surprising. Adding a standard DVD player only adds a small cost to the total for the set, so it makes sense to add one to an inexpensive set that only costs a few hundred dollars. A Blu-ray drive could double the cost of a small set, however, so the only way to make it a reasonable step up is to add it to a more expensive larger display. The TWICE article says that no pricing was announced, but that the 42″ model is expected to cost “less than $2,000“. That would have been an attractive price point for a 42” LCD HDTV a couple of years ago, but not today. If Sharp hopes to sell many of these combo sets, they’ll have to be closer to $1,000.