Wal-Mart's Bargain Blu-ray
Just last week, we reported about the somewhat dismal adoption of Blu-ray among consumers. We said it seemed that $300 was the magic number that would entice more folks to whip out the credit card and go Blu. Seems like Wal-Mart was taking notes. Wal-Mart is going to begin selling the Magnavox NB500MG9 in a few weeks for just under $300. Whoa, big boy, you might want to think about this before you park your RV outside your nearest Wal-Mart.
The "Magnavox" name isn't the one you've known and loved for years. The NB500MG9 is a Funai player, rebadged as "Magnavox." Funai? Who??? It's probably not as scary as is sounds - Funai is the parent company of Sylvania and Emerson too, but still.
Best Buy is going to sell the exact same player with their in-house badge "Insignia" for fifty bucks more. The NB500MG9 is going to be Profile 1.1 with picture-in-picture, but still pretty basic. You can't help but wonder if Wal-Mart could sell this knock-off for significantly less than $300 once consumers realize the "Magnavox" name is just a front, especially since it's Profile 1.1. The real question is would you rather pay a little bit more and get a name that you know and respect? With a new technology, wouldn't folks want a name they trust? -Leslie Shapiro