High Def DVD: The Votes Are In!

For the second year in a row, Amazon has run its “Customer Vote” promotion. This pits three popular products against each other, offered at crazy discount prices. Different choices are offered each day over a week. Amazon visitors then vote for which one they would like to buy. Hundreds of voters who picked the winner are selected at random and given the opportunity to buy it at that discounted price. For example, the first round gave the choice of a Nintendo Wii for $97, a Sony Playstation 3 (40 GB) for $319, or an XBox 360 for $219. The Wii was the run-away winner with 58% of the vote, then 28% for the PS3, and only 14% for the XBox. (Note that the Wii had the lowest price of the three choices.)

Well, today’s round is a competition between the Toshiba HD-A35 for $149, the TiVo HD Video Recorder for $149, and the Samsung BD-1400 for $249. And which did the Amazon customers pick? The HD DVD player from Toshiba, with 41% of the votes. The TiVo was second with 36% of the votes, and the Samsung Blu-Ray player trailed at just 23% of the votes.

Now, this is not a scientific sampling of the marketplace, but I’d bet that it’s pretty representative. (Why would Amazon waste the resources to run this campaign if it didn’t net some valuable market intelligence? Remember, we’re talking about Amazon here.) And if this is accurate, then it it looks as though the HD DVD player has a strong advantage. Is it the lower price or the features? There’s no way to know from these results, but it sure looks to me as though the price advantage is a key factor.

(And no, I was not selected as one of the voters offered a chance to buy the Toshiba player.)