The battle is finally over, the dust has settled and the blood has been mopped up. The only contender left standing is Blue-ray hovering over the heavy breathing, badly beaten remains of what use to be called HD DVD.
On our show this week we talked about how the giant of all online rental companies put the final nail in the coffin of HD DVD. That, of course would be Netflix. They will no longer be offering up HD DVD for rent or download once they run out of their current stock. Everything coming from Netflix by the end of this summer will be Blue-ray.
Also announced this week was the decision by two of the biggest retailers in the world, Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has picked Blu-ray over HD DVD in the market battle for the format of high-definition video. They have decided to sell only Blue-ray DVDs and Blue-ray compatible hardware exclusively in all of their 4,000 stores across the United States.
Best Buy is recommending Blue-ray to its customers even though their current stock of HD DVD hardware is still available in limited supply. However, HD DVD players will soon go the way of the dinosaur after Toshiba bowed to the handwriting on the wall and will no longer produce new HD DVD product.
Netflix, Best Buy and Wal-Mart now join other big retailers like Blockbuster Inc. and Target Corp. in offering only Blue-ray.
”We’ve listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases,” stated Gary Severson, head of home entertainment for Wal-Mart.
Wal-Mart and its warehouse store, Sam’s Club, will continue to sell off its remaining stockpile of HD DVD players and DVDs until at least June 2008, the date when supplies are expected to be depleted.
Of course the big winner in this battle has been Sony, the main producer of Blue-ray product and all those production companies that offer up that particular HD format; companies like Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox, MGM, Time Warner’s Warner Bros. and Sony Pictures. The biggest loser? Toshiba. Other big losers who will now have to play catch-up are Viacom’s Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks SKG and Universal Pictures. Until recently they all were dedicated to producing HD DVD product only, but have all seen the light and will be converting over to Blue-ray once their contracts with Toshiba either expire by the end of this year or they opt to use their back-door clauses that allow early buy-outs, in most cases by as early as June 2008.