updated 01:45 pm EST, Fri February 15, 2008
Wal-Mart Dropping HD DVD
(Updated with official announcement) Wal-Mart will join a string of major retailers in being the next to drop HD DVD as a format, according to a post by an associate writing on an official company blog. The staffer claims that the store chain will echo the same Warner Bros. plans that triggered the sudden fall of HD DVD and will gradually phase out HD DVD movies and players, leaving only Blu-ray devices and titles on Wal-Mart shelves by June. Prices may also drop on Blu-ray equipment as consolidation around the single standard goes up, the writer speculates.
The change is already claimed to have been inspired by similar moves at Best Buy and Netflix, both of which have said they will either promote Blu-ray ahead of HD DVD or else drop it entirely, as Netflix intends once its existing HD DVD titles exit circulation. Wal-Mart was an unintentional backer of HD DVD by selling $100 players during the holidays.
Wal-Mart has since confirmed the leak and says it will pull HD DVD from both its self-branded stores and its Sam's Club stores by June. The shift towards Blu-ray will become evident within about 30 days, according to the company. Senior Home Entertainment VP Gary Severson describes the justification as a reflection of customer bias towards Blu-ray.
"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," he says.