What is “Affordable”?

Two related news items this week caused a little head-scratching in the professor’s study. The first was an announcement from Sherwood that they were introducing a Blu-ray player designed “for affordability and optimum performance” with “an irresistable” list price of $299.95.

And then there was the news that a new Blu-ray player bearing the Olevia brand will be available for “an aggressive” street price of $229 exclusively at Target. (The Olevia brand was part of Syntax-Brillian, which filed for bankrputcy last July. Fuse101 Brands America — not exactly a household name — has siince licensed the brand.)

Excuse me? These are affordable prices? When you’re hard-pressed to spend as much as $100 for an upconverting DVD player (and some models are available for half that amount), two to three times as much hardly looks “affordable”. And with Sony, Sharp, and Samsung already selling Blu-ray models with street prices under $300, it’s even harder to see the bargain in these deals.

Here’s the bottom line. Blu-ray costs too much, people think standard DVD is good enough, and I expect that we’ll see widespread use of Internet distribution for the purchase and rental of HD movies before we see Blu-ray overtake standard HD.