Woolworths to ditch HD DVD

January 29, 2008 | 09:19

Tags: #hd #hd-dvd #retail #woolworths

Companies: #blu-ray #sony #toshiba

I don't know how many people still go into a bricks-and-mortar high-street shop to buy their fix of Hollywood high-def goodness, but those who do may struggle to find it if they didn't side with Sony in the HD battle: Woolworths has announced that it is to drop HD DVD from its stores in favour of rival format Blu-Ray.

Figures released by perennial British favourite Woolies show Blu-Ray outselling HD DVDs ten-to-one over the festive period, and coupled with several major defections from the HD DVD camp the management obviously feels the time has come to chivvy the format wars along a bit.

The plan is for all 820 Woolworth stores to have a Blu-Ray chart section, and the larger shops to also be equipped with a Blu-Ray back catalogue by March this year. Discs will also be available via its pseudo-mail-order service The Big Red Book.

In terms of high-street sales, Woolworths is the leading retailer of high-definition media of both flavours in the UK. This means that a move to Blu-Ray exclusivity will hurt Toshiba's HD DVD camp badly.

Steve McGunigel, DVD buyer for the chain, attributes the success of Blu-Ray directly to the PS3, saying “because it plays Blu-Ray discs, there are over three-quarters of a million homes in the UK that can view the new high definition format. There is nowhere near that number of HD DVD players around.

McGunigel hopes that by stocking Blu-Ray format discs exclusively the company can “provide one clear offer to customers in the format they want to watch high definition movies in.” Providing you didn't want to watch it in HD DVD format, one presumes.

Interestingly, although the high-street Woolworths stores will be HD DVD free, the Toshiba-backed format will still be available via the website. As to whether this will continue after the company has divested itself of stocks of HD DVD discs remains to be seen.

Do you think it's time to declare a winner in the HD format war, or does HD DVD still have some fight left in it? Alternatively, are you sticking to DVD until the format is officially deprecated and letting the early adopters iron out the kinks? Give us your views over in the forums.
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