updated 04:30 pm EST, Mon February 11, 2008
Best Buy Picks Blu-ray
Large-scale retailer Best Buy this afternoon unsettled the HD video industry by announcing that it would promote Blu-ray over HD DVD. The chain had originally claimed to remain platform-neutral but now says Blu-ray will be its "preferred" format and will reflect this choice in its stores. Blu-ray movie players and titles will be given more prominent positions than HD DVD, while store staff are more likely to recommend the new format. The sudden shift is a reaction to customer demand, according to Best Buy president Brian Dunn.
"Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way," Dunn claims.
Best Buy's decision compounds HD DVD's losses for today alone, as Netflix dropped HD DVD this morning in an attempt to drive HD movie sales by choosing only one format. Since Warner Bros.' announcement that it would shift to Blu-ray exclusivity in January, Blu-ray has continued to lead sales and has resulted in several stores and services either de-emphasizing HD DVD or introducing HD for the first time through Blu-ray.
HD DVD's chief proponent, Toshiba, has not responded to the Best Buy move but was formerly the subject of a promotion that sold the HD-A3 movie player for $200, which remained the lowest price for an HD DVD player until the Warner announcement pressed Toshiba to make a price cut to $150 in a bid to remain competitive.