Best Buy Recommends Blu-ray12 Feb, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Best Buy Co. Inc. said beginning in March it would steer consumers toward Blu-ray Disc with prominently displayed hardware and software displays.
The decision, coupled with Netflix's announcement that it will no longer purchase HD DVD titles, marks a major blow to Toshiba, which has dramatically slashed prices on its HD DVD players and even ran a Super Bowl ad in support of the format.
Jodi Sally, VP of marketing with Toshiba Corp. of America, said Best Buy's decision and Netflix's move to focus on Blu-ray rentals would result in Toshiba assessing market conditions.
“It's unfortunate to see a valued partner like Best Buy make the decision to push consumers toward Blu-ray,” Sally said.
She said Toshiba was not scaling back HD DVD marketing efforts but instead was analyzing market conditions.
Until now, Best Buy and other retailers have steadfastly remained neutral in the format war publicly while lamenting its affect on sales.
The Minneapolis-based consumer electronics retailer is reportedly the largest seller of HD packaged media.
“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way,” said Brian Dunn, president and COO of Best Buy. “We've listened to our customers and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format.”
He said Best Buy would continue carrying HD DVD players and software.
The HD DVD Promotions Group issued a statement lamenting Netflix and Best Buy's decisions but reiterated that with more than 1 million HD DVD players on the market, the format represented the best consumer value.
“At least [Best Buy] will continue to carry HD DVD and offer consumers a choice at retail,” the group said.