Toshiba is guilty of sending mixed messages about its HD DVD player sales. According to Yoshihide Fujii, chief of Toshiba’s digital consumer business, US sales have been “slower than expected,” and as a result the company is lowering its sales forecast for the year. Officially, Tosh says it now expects to sell one million HD DVD players by the end of 2007. Back at the CES, the company promised it would sell 1.88 million units. Fujii refused to be drawn on any revised global forecast, which was previously pegged at 3 million players, although that would also logically be expected to slide.
That said, the American HD DVD promotional group maintains that its players now dominate the dedicated hi-def deck market. It says recent price cuts have elevated the format’s sales ‘significantly’ above the Blu-ray competition in the US. Toshiba says sales doubled when it slashed prices at the beginning of the year.
Price is the key when it comes to hardware sales, says Universal’s Craig Kornblau, and there’s more to come: “Behind the increase in sales for hardware and movies, you’re seeing fundamentally lower manufacturing costs and ease of authoring for HD DVD. That’s the type of model that can scale.” Software sales have also hit a new high, exceeding 75,000 movies in the last week of April alone. As part of its drive for format acceptance, Toshiba says it will supply HD DVD drives in all laptops next year.