Sony Blu-ray Player for $500

In the battle for the high definition DVD format, the HD DVD camp has enjoyed a considerable price advantage over the Blu-ray competition. Sony has just diminished that gap by a bit by lowering the price on Blu-ray player by $100. No, this is not the BDP S300 that Sony dropped to $499 last month; it’s the PlayStation 3 60 GB model that is now priced under $500.

As the PS3 sales continue to be dwarfed by Nintendo’s Wii, Sony clearly feels the need to cut the purchase price in order to stimulate sales. On the other hand, there’s also good news. Microsoft’s widely-publicized XBox 360 hardware woes may help PS3 sales, and the PS3 installed base is clearly contributing to Blu-ray’s early lead in terms of discs shipped.

I’m still not counting HD DVD down and out yet, however. Toshiba’s HD-A2 stands at $299 and the HD-A20 lists for $399, which gives buyers two options that are considerably less costly than Sony’s models. Toshiba reports that sales have surged since hitting the $299 price point in April, and I still believe that if high definition discs succeed — which means that they are not rendered superfluous by FLASH memory devices or Internet distribution — that HD DVD is likely to be the winner in the long run.