Harvey Norman not yet key to HD DVD’s success

By Sarah Falson

SYDNEY: When Toshiba launched its two HD DVD players in October last year, it announced that Harvey Norman would be the key to the format’s success.

Castel Electronics, former distributor of Toshiba home entertainment products, said its retail model – which also includes Retravision, Myer, Wow Sight and Sound, West Coast HiFi and AV specialists – reflects the brand’s premium status in the home cinema market.

“Toshiba is a premium brand so we really think about which stores we’ll partner with for distribution,” former Castel NSW state manager, Peter Shamoon, told Current.com.au last year. 

“Castel has limited distribution, so [stocking] a very good brand like Toshiba, which is the only Japanese brand in Australia that has not distributed its products to every major retailer, allows the retailer to make more margin.

“Harvey Norman is going to be the biggest reseller of these products,” he said.

However, according to Current.com.au’s research, many Harvey Norman stores have not received supplies of either Toshiba HD DVD players of HD DVD films, though they stock products of the Blu-ray format.

“We have a couple of Blu-ray players and movies, but no HD DVD stocks yet,” said Harvey Norman Castle Hill Home Maker Centre IT manager, Mark Graham.

“We’ve been here for about 12 months and at this location for only three weeks – we’re getting things fixed up before inventing any new business.”

Harvey Norman in Sydney’s Westfield Bondi Junction is also yet-to-receive HD DVD stock, with the store’s audiovisual manager saying they didn’t stock the format and he didn’t know when they would.

“Sales of Blu-ray players are rare,” said the audiovisual manager, Joe Nguyen.

“We sell the [Blu-ray] films maybe once a week.”

He also said that he hadn’t noticed a hike in Blu-ray disc sales since the launch of the Playstation 3 two weeks ago which plays discs in the format.

According to Sony Computer Entertainment, 20,000 Playstation 3 consoles were sold over the first three days after it was launched.

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