Toshiba Plans HD DVD Marketing Blitz

Hoping to drum up consumer interest in its next generation DVD format, Toshiba revealed details of a plan to traverse the United States through April to promote HD DVD. The tour will stop in over 40 cities and include live demonstrations of the technology, as well as aiming to train and educate retail salespeople on the benefits of the format.

Toshiba's first players based on the technology, the entry-level HD-A1 and its higher end HD-XA1, are due to be released later in the month at prices of $499 and $799 USD, respectively. While HD DVD's list of supporting movie studios is smaller than competitor Blu-ray, backers of the format hope its lower equipment price will help to increase sales and give it a head start on its rival.

Both players will include iHD, an advanced navigation language that has become the center of the fight between the two formats. So far, Blu-ray has declined to support it, citing its Java capabilities as a superior alternative.

Blu-ray players, due in May, are expected to cost up to $1,800 USD at launch.

Additionally, Toshiba plans to supplement the marketing campaign with an extensive print, online and television component. "We realize that not everyone can attend an in-store demonstration of HD DVD," Toshiba marketing vice president Tina Tuccillo said. The ads would run during the duration of the promotional tour.

Toshiba also plans to have a strong retail presence by providing its partners with special displays that would enhance HD DVD's exposure within the store. The company's HDTV line would be promoted in conjunction with the new products, Toshiba said.

"With our strategic, integrated marketing initiative and the support of our many promotional and retail partners, we are poised to lead the way into consumers' homes with a next generation of DVD technology," Toshiba Digital A/V marketing vice president Jodi Sally added.

More information on the players, as well as the tour dates and locations can be found on the HD DVD Web site.

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