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As unhappy as many people are about the fact that there are two competing high definition disc formats out there, it's hard to argue about what the competition is doing for the prices of players and the promotions the two groups and retailers are willing to offer to attract customers!
Amazon.com is now offering some great prices as well as three free high definition discs with the purchase of a qualifying HD DVD or Blu-ray player. These are available instantly and are on top of the five free discs available via mail-in rebate!
The HD DVD Promotion is available on all three standalone HD DVD players, the Toshiba HD-A2, HD-A20, and HD-XA2. Their current price for the entry-level HD-A2 (my recommended choice for almost everyone) is $238.88, which is a very good price, and then when you add the three free discs and the five discs in the mail, it's pretty much irresistable!
The same deal is also available for the Microsoft Xbox 360 Add-on drive, which is currently going for $179.99. The only difference is that since "King Kong" is already included, you get to pick out two additional titles instead of three.
The three free discs need to be added to your shopping cart at the same time as your hardware purchase, and you have 55 from which to choose. Titles include "300," "Batman Begins," "Casablanca," "Happy Feet," and others. If you pay attention to which titles are available via the mail-rebate (like Casablanca), you can be sure to have a great collection by the time all is said and done!
Now, for the Blu-ray deal...
According to this page, you can get three free Blu-ray movies from a collection of 105 titles when you buy a Playstation 3 (PS3). The 60GB version is going for $499.99 and the 80GB version is currently at $599.99, which also includes the "Motorstorm" game. If I had to choose, I would go with the 60GB version, as it is $100 cheaper and it contains hardware emulation for PS1 and PS2 games (even though I don't get into gaming much).
I could not find any standalone Blu-ray players that qualified for this offer, only the Playstation 3.
The PS3 is also the only Blu-ray capable device that I would recommend to anyone at this point, as it's one of the few that has an ethernet port for updates and online connectivity, and it has the computing horsepower to handle complex discs like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (see video of one guy's attempt to load the Liar's Dice game on his 1st gen Sony BDP-S1).
Plus, I think that even though there haven't been any official announcements from Sony, they would be completely crazy not to update the PS3 to support the Profile 1.1 requirements for Blu-ray players that are mandatory come November 1, 2007. But, since there hasn't been an official announcement by Sony, buyer beware! Personally, I would not buy a player that wasn't compliant with Profile 1.1 and had an ethernet jack, but that's just me.
As with the HD DVD promotion, you need to purchase the hardware and the three free movies at the same time. The selection of movies includes "300," the first two "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies, "Fantastic Four," and more. And just like with the mail-in rebate for HD DVD's, check the mail-in rebate form so that you can choose the best selection from each offer.
The "three free discs" offer from Amazon lasts through September 23, 2007.
Update: Rumor has it that people are combining this deal with the "buy 3 for the price of 2" deals that Amazon is running for both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs, and they are getting the price of the least expensive disc discounted on their total purchase.
Toshiba HD-A2 ($238.88) + 300 + Happy Feet + TMNT ($27.95 each)
Subtotal of Items: $322.73
Shipping & Handling: $0.00 (super saver shipping)
Promotion Applied -$83.85 (for the 3 free discs)
Promotion Applied -$27.95 (for the free 3rd disc)
Total for this Order: $210.93
A very nice deal, indeed!
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