Culver City (CA) – Following in the footsteps of video rental chain Blockbuster, Target has decided to only stock Blu-ray Disc players, passing on rival format HD DVD.
Sony issued a statement today confirming that standalone high definition disc players at retail Target locations will be Blu-ray players exclusively, at least until the end of the year.
Target will begin selling Sony’s least expensive player, the BDP-S300, by the end of October. The unit is priced at around $500. Target has also been selling the Playstation 3 since its debut last November.
However, Target also sells the HD DVD player add-on for Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console, which was given a new MSRP of $179 today. It previously sold for around $200. And in fact, the retailer’s online store is currently stocked with multiple HD DVD players but no standalone Blu-ray devices.
It’s a bit of a one-two punch for HD DVD after a similar announcement from Blockbuster last month. In its first move to nationwide high definition rentals, Blockbuster decided to only stock Blu-ray titles, though some test stores and its online rental service offer HD DVD.
As expected, the HD DVD camp has already fired back and issued a statement about this development. “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 BestBuy and Circuit City,” said Ken Graffeo, vice president of Universal Studios’ HD marketing team. Universal has pledged exclusive support to the HD DVD format.
Target has historically called the mark on dying formats, usually being one of the first major retailer to put a halt on products that fizzle out soon afterwards. It stopped selling Nokia’s multimedia N-Gage phone just months before it officially died, and got rid of UMD movies for Sony’s Playstation Portable system. Not long after that decision, third-party movie studios stopped supporting the format.