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Best Buy To Push Blu-ray Over HD DVD In Stores

Minneapolis — Best Buy stopped short of announcing exclusive support for Blu-ray Disc, but starting in March the chain will begin “prominently showcasing” Blu-ray Disc hardware and software in its retail stores and online.

The giant CE retail chain said the decision was made to give consumers direction and clear up confusion that remains in the ongoing HD disc format war. The company noted that it will continue to carry an assortment of HD DVD products for customers who want them.

“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way,” stated Brian Dunn, Best Buy president/COO. “We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format. Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them.”

Dunn added that “Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices. Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”

“With the explosion of HDTVs, customers are hungry for quality, high-definition content. We believe our move to feature Blu-ray should help consumers feel confident in their hi-def content choices,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s home solutions senior VP. “Best Buy is excited by the next generation of digital products and we know our customers are too. We are excited about helping customers find the right mix of products and services to make the next generation of high-definition entertainment technology come alive for them. We believe that Blu-ray is the right solution for consumers.”

Earlier in the day, online DVD rental company Netflix said it will begin offering Blu-ray Discs exclusively to its customers and expects to transition out of HD DVD by the end of the year.

 Commenting on Best Buy’s decision, Jodi Sally, Toshiba digital A/V group marketing VP said: “It’s unfortunate to see a valued partner like Best Buy make the decision to push consumers toward Blu-ray. We’re also aware of the Netflix decision to only stock Blu-ray movies for rental going forward.  Given these developments, Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players.”