Rumours are doing the rounds that WalMart, the American retailer that owns British supermarket ASDA, will be shifting HD DVD players for as little as $199, and as soon as autumn of this year.

It seems as if a Chinese manufacturer, Fuh Yuan, in cooperation with TDK, has been brought in to produce the blue laser drives in a move that may swing the format wars.

Up to now the Blu-ray system seems to have been trumping HD DVD but this could shift the balance.

Rumours say that the contract is for 2 million units, with Broadcom providing the system-on-a-chip decoder, in a deal for $100,000,000 and it is said that a new factory has already been opened for the work.

Those in the know say the units could retail for between $199 and $299, with even the higher price representing good value as the cheapest player now available, the Toshiba HD-A20, comes in at $399. The cheapest Blu-ray available is $599.