San Diego — Target has agreed to sell Sony Blu-ray Disc players as its exclusive next-generation high-definition disc players this holiday season, Sony said today.
The exclusive deal, which will begin this fall and continue “at least through the holiday season,” will feature Sony’s $499 BDP-S300 Blu-ray player, which is scheduled to arrive at Target in October, and the currently available PlayStation3 video game console, which also plays Blu-ray Disc movies.
Target will also support the players with an “expanded assortment of Blu-ray Disc movies.”
“We’re extremely excited that Target chose to carry Sony Blu-ray Disc players,” stated Randy Waynick, Sony home products division senior VP. “Target’s decision to add Sony’s Blu-ray Disc player to the shelf, in addition to the already available PlayStation3 video game system, illustrates how this leading retailer is in tune with American consumers who are interested in the latest high-definition technologies.”
In a statement Target said: “Target is committed to providing our guests with exceptional technology solutions. Blu-ray is one of many solutions that our guests will find at Target.
“We are not proclaiming one format vs. the other as the preferred consumer technology, and software will continue to be available to our guests in both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. We are simply merchandising Blu-ray hardware as the initial foray into this exciting category. As with all of our merchandise, we will track guest feedback and adjust as necessary.”
Target said consumer response will be closely monitored during the period. Meanwhile, the chain will continue to sell and promote Microsoft’s Xbox 360 video game system and the peripheral HD DVD drive for the player. In addition, Target will continue to sell HD DVD hardware online.
Sony’s BDP-S300 Blu-ray Disc player will be used in a holiday feature endcap designed to communicate the consumer benefits of Blu-ray Disc technology, Sony said.
The endcap will also feature an expanded list of movie titles from a variety of Hollywood studios.
“Target’s decision to promote Blu-ray Disc players in the fourth quarter sends an important message to those who may still be sitting the high-definition fence,” stated David Bishop, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment president. “Their guests rely on Target to merchandise solutions that enhance their lives and they rely on Sony as one of the most trusted electronics brands to offer the best technologies.
“This promotion from Target and Sony will lend further credibility to the benefits associated with Blu-ray Disc technology.”
Commenting on the decision, Ken Graffeo, HD DVD Promotional Group co-president said: “Target will continue to carry the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive as well as HD DVD titles so we don’t see much of a change in their plans to carry both formats. In fact, they continue to sell Toshiba HD DVD players on their web site. Sony appears to have bought an end cap, just as HD DVD has in retail stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City
“What’s important is that stand alone HD DVD players are still much more affordable than Blu-ray players, plus they offer a better experience – just compare titles appearing in both formats like `300′ or `Blood Diamond.’ Ultimately consumers will be the ones that determine what format provides the greatest value,” Graffeo concluded.