A standalone HD DVD player for less than two Benjamins? From a manufacturer that we've heard of? We've been waiting for that day for some time now, and while there have certainly been wild claims by less popular foreign outfits and even price hiccups that have paired certain players with a (temporary) sub-$200 pricetag, it's about time for entry-level units on the whole to settle beneath the barrier. If a number of reports circling the web are true, we just might see it happen in the not-too-distant future, which isn't all that shocking considering how HD DVD player prices have been (expectedly) falling in recent months. Apparently, a $198 Toshiba HDA2-W has been noticed in Wal-Mart systems, and you won't color us surprised if it's joined by a few other name brand alternatives in time for the holiday rush. Of course, it remains to be seen if buyers will be willing to forgo the extras that higher-end units are blessed with in order to simply have a player that understands HD DVD, but historically speaking, money talks (the loudest).

[Via PCWorld, thanks Nigel M.]

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