Wal-Mart is going Blu-ray exclusive by June—they won't even stock older HD DVD stuff at that point. While Netflix and Best Buy pulling Blu were hard blows to HD DVD, when the world's largest public corporation won't stock your products, you're basically doomed. Wal-Mart is the avenue to the unwashed masses, and, as an emerging format, if you're not rolling on it, you've effectively fallen off the radar of millions of people. It's probable Toshiba already knew this, hence the rumours of it finally pulling the plug. If they weren't considering it before, it's gotta weigh heavy on them now. Update: Press release below.
Wal-Mart Moving Exclusively Toward Blu-ray Format Movies and Players
Bentonville, Ark., Feb. 15, 2008 - Wal-Mart Stores, U.S. today announces that its 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores will move forward this year with one hi-definition movie and hardware format: Blu-ray. The change will take place quickly over the next several months whereby the retailer will phase out HD DVD offerings and reorganise shelf space. By June, Wal-Mart stores, Sam's Clubs, www.walmart.com and www.samsclub.com will offer only Blu-ray movies and hardware machines, as well as standard definition movies and DVD players, and up converts.
"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Wal-Mart, U.S. "With the customers best interest in all we do, we wanted to share our decision and timeline with them as soon as possible, knowing it will help simplify their purchase decision, increase selection, and increase adoption long term. We anticipate enhancing our selection with continued great values in hi-definition Blu-ray products, so our customers can further enhance their entertainment experience at home."
Wal-Mart will continue to sell through remaining HD DVD product, but in less than 30 days customers will see a more predominant move toward Blu-ray in stores, clubs and online. As the nation's largest retailer, Wal-Mart thoughtfully reviewed all areas and impact in making its decision, and is excited to move forward with one format and share its future plans with customers.