Wal-Mart Goes Blue

In another loss for the HD-DVD camp, US retailer Wal-Mart today announced that its 4,000 stores (including Sam's Clubs) 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 reorganize 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.

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.

"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 of Home Entertainment. "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."

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It will be interesting to see how the PS3 does against stand-alone BD players. Numerous people strongly suggested the PS3 over stand-alone BD players based on upgradable firmware.

I recently picked up a PS3 for Blu-ray and gaming is secondary. Disney movies (3d animated) look awesome in HD.

I suppose Wal-mart will have a fire sale of their remaining HD-DVDs. Having a XBOX HD-DVD, I will have to get into the fire sales. The XBOX 360 is primarily used for gaming for those wondering. HD-DVD was just added because of the 5 free movie coupon + 1 in the box (King Kong) and I liked the HD-DVD experience better.

Time to visit on-line fire sales and see what Amazon has in store.

what a surprise...the stores/studios back a format with the most restrictive copy protection...never mind at least Blu-ray, sounds nice.

(pjak said @ #12)
what a surprise...the stores/studios back a format with the most restrictive copy protection...never mind at least Blu-ray, sounds nice.

The best comment in the whole chain. And also the biggest problem of the whole movie (and music) industry when looked at from the consumers view.

How unfortunate. Well it looks like I'll have to get a Blu-ray player soon. HD DVD was such a better choice, too bad the average consumer didn't see what they're missing.

Consumers had little to do with the choices made. The HD format has been miniscule in sales up to now. It was a war between studios, not consumers. 99% of the consumers out there won't even know what HD-DVD is a coouple months from now.

(Ironman273 said @ #11.1)
Consumers had little to do with the choices made. The HD format has been miniscule in sales up to now. It was a war between studios, not consumers. 99% of the consumers out there won't even know what HD-DVD is a coouple months from now.

Yeah, except HD DVD disc sales have been even more miniscule than Blu-ray. Hence, HD DVD being dropped across the board.

(testman said @ #11.3)

Yeah, except HD DVD disc sales have been even more miniscule than Blu-ray. Hence, HD DVD being dropped across the board.

Again, no. You're saying that HD-DVD sales were smaller than Blu-Ray, hence it was dropped. It's like being on a beach and comparing one speck of sand to two specks of sand. Consumers had nothing to do with the choices made. HD-DVD is dead because the studios aligned themselves towards Blu-Ray and a format cannot survive without software.

I'm still not gonna buy either a player or discs until I stop hearing about firmware issues. My DVDs ain't broken, so I don't see the need for a fix.

firmware issues? were you been at? my ps3, Sony bd player, and Samsung bd are all working as intended.. hell if anything my friends pile of a player Toshiba hd3 is in needs of fixing. Hes gone through 3 players, and 2 firmware fixes, and still is plagued by slowness and choppiness...

(DeadOnArrival said @ #9.1)
firmware issues? were you been at? my ps3, Sony bd player, and Samsung bd are all working as intended.. hell if anything my friends pile of a player Toshiba hd3 is in needs of fixing. Hes gone through 3 players, and 2 firmware fixes, and still is plagued by slowness and choppiness...

Lets see...

- Early adopter (why else would anyone own 3 players at a time when market penetration still barely registers)
- Denies any problem with any of them
- Pins those same problems on the other contender

If that's not fanboy territory, I don't know what is. I'm not trying to compare HD vs BluRay; you brought this up and that's not my point at all.

For one thing...Profile 1.0 vs 1.1 vs 2.0. Why are they still messing with mandatory vs optional items when players are already on the market? Some people right now have spent a couple of hundred dollars on players can't be upgraded and are already a prime target for obsolescence. In my book, that's called getting burned. I don't need that. I'll jump on the bandwagon only when such issues are made irrelevant and things "just work" on any player available on the market at that time.

My folks spent a couple hundred dollars way back when on a DVD player that won't play DVD-Rs, DVD+Rs, video CDs, picture CDs, MP3s, WMAs, WMVs, etc...when just about every $30 player available today does. They spent thousands on a 61" HD TV set that doesn't have HDMI input. Of course they can now replace both with a much cheaper equivalent, but that's not the point. I will never buy hardware that's already on the market when the specs are still changing.

Yeah, with those news, this format war is definitely over now.

And there's hopefully a clause in Universal and Paramount's contracts that if Toshiba pulls out, they are free to as well.

(acnpt said @ #7)
I did support HD-DVD, but im glad this has happened as one format is going to win!.

I also was a big HD supporter but have since made the sad jump to Blu. At least this goes some way to ending the 'war', lets hope a clear winner come out soon.

Thats easy to understand thats the only way they can sell the only BD player they have on the self. Sony BD300 that doesn't support HDMI 1.3 only 1.2 and it not upgradable. Wall Mart and Sony don't mind selling junk. I have a Blu Ray and a HD DVD player the HD DVD works everytime the Blu Ray won't even play a movie even after updates.

(Avgrog said @ #6)
Thats easy to understand thats the only way they can sell the only BD player they have on the self. Sony BD300 that doesn't support HDMI 1.3 only 1.2 and it not upgradable. Wall Mart and Sony don't mind selling junk. I have a Blu Ray and a HD DVD player the HD DVD works everytime the Blu Ray won't even play a movie even after updates.

Should have bought a PS3 which has upgradeable firmware. Sell the BD300 and buy a PS3.

(kraized said @ #6.1)

Should have bought a PS3 which has upgradeable firmware. Sell the BD300 and buy a PS3.

The thing is that they get around it by gloating that players like the s300 "do have upgradeable firmware" but it means downloading and burning the firmware etc. The BD group could have done with sitting down and hashing out a complete spec beforehand, instead of a crappy spec then seeing what the competition has, copying it and implementing it badly, and releasing it as incompatible profiles for older players. A big mistake was not having mandatory network ports on every player, this will bite BD in the ass later on.

(randomnut said @ #6.3)
The thing is that they get around it by gloating that players like the s300 "do have upgradeable firmware" but it means downloading and burning the firmware etc.

I'm not sure why you're against progress in technology? Do you complain as much if a company release software upgrades to improve it and give it more features?

I would understand you better if this was about firmware fixing bugs existing in former profile versions, and they weren't upgradable. That would suck, because you'd be stuck with bugs. But this is about more features, not bugs. Extra stuff for fun and entertainment. If the Blu-ray format keeps improving to give you more and more benefits compared to HD-DVD, what's your problem? Heck, even if you need to buy a new player to get all the bells and whistles, still, what's your problem? This is extremely common in technology. If you buy a new plasma TV today, it'll be much more powerful than one a few years ago, and let's not even talk of graphics cards or computers in general. Does that make me feel bad for purchasing a plasma TV, knowing this? Yeah, a little maybe, but that's facts I had to take about 20 years ago when I got involved with technology. And it's a beautiful thing to watch, in another sense.

And if you don't care for, say, Internet connectivity as part of whatever profile version it was, you don't even need these upgrades? They're just extra bells and whistles if you want to do more than watching the movie. :-p

Personally, I'm happy a format can keep improving beyond just giving us the movie watching experience and classic DVD "extras".

(Jugalator said @ #6.4)

I'm not sure why you're against progress in technology? Do you complain as much if a company release software upgrades to improve it and give it more features?

I would understand you better if this was about firmware fixing bugs existing in former profile versions, and they weren't upgradable. That would suck, because you'd be stuck with bugs. But this is about more features, not bugs. Extra stuff for fun and entertainment. If the Blu-ray format keeps improving to give you more and more benefits compared to HD-DVD, what's your problem? Heck, even if you need to buy a new player to get all the bells and whistles, still, what's your problem? This is extremely common in technology. If you buy a new plasma TV today, it'll be much more powerful than one a few years ago, and let's not even talk of graphics cards or computers in general. Does that make me feel bad for purchasing a plasma TV, knowing this? Yeah, a little maybe, but that's facts I had to take about 20 years ago when I got involved with technology. And it's a beautiful thing to watch, in another sense.

And if you don't care for, say, Internet connectivity as part of whatever profile version it was, you don't even need these upgrades? They're just extra bells and whistles if you want to do more than watching the movie. :-p

Personally, I'm happy a format can keep improving beyond just giving us the movie watching experience and classic DVD "extras".

That has nothing to do with it Jugalator. The Blu-Ray camp admitted that they only released it because HD-DVD was going to go to market before them. They purposely let consumers buy into an incomplete format. There's a big difference between that and making small upgrades and fixes to your standard.

(randomnut said @ #6.3)

The thing is that they get around it by gloating that players like the s300 "do have upgradeable firmware" but it means downloading and burning the firmware etc. The BD group could have done with sitting down and hashing out a complete spec beforehand, instead of a crappy spec then seeing what the competition has, copying it and implementing it badly, and releasing it as incompatible profiles for older players. A big mistake was not having mandatory network ports on every player, this will bite BD in the ass later on.

is it really that hard for you to download adn burn a disk, easier than only being able to update via network in which case you need to cable up your lounge room or use wifi.. or move your player whenever you want to update, really downloading and burning a disk is not hard

(Killa Aaron said @ #2)
well i wonder what microsoft is going to do with the 360 now, i hope to see a 360 ultimate with Blu-Ray or something like that.

Since the 360 doesn't have a built in drive (good idea when you look at it now) all they have to do is release a new add-on... not that hard for MS at all... you'll probably never see a 360 with an internal drive that is not dvd... maybe the next xbox will have an internal drive

All I can say is if Toshiba does kill off the HD DVD player because it lost the war, they better release a firmware update for Divx support for all of use that own a player so we can get something remotely useful out of it.


you so know that these players are excellent at upscaling regular dvds, actually they are considered some of the best on the market for that purpose. Plus they will still play all the hd-dvd's that you have in your collection.

.. i wonder if walmart will have a fire sale on all existing hd-dvd's soon? I would love buy more for my collection.

(WolfDV said @ #1.1)
... i wonder if walmart will have a fire sale on all existing hd-dvd's soon? I would love buy more for my collection.

I don't know [or care] about about Walmart, but you should probably keep checking Pricegrabber Electronics for price drops. Soon enough they'll be selling at fire sale prices!

(warwagon said @ #1.3)
I don't care about upscaling dvd's I want Divx / Xvid support

then buy an xbox for the cheap, simple softmod, and install XBMC (probably one of the best players for xvid/divx and other file types on the market)

.. and then you could just connect it to your network and play files without burning discs every time (eww). XBMC looks great at 1080i/720p, and will upscale your vids accodingly. (although that doesn't mean it will play 1080p/720p .mkv files .. a bit to resource intensive for the old xbox, and most standalone players on the market)

I suppose you could use a 360 aswell (they recently added xvid/divx support), but the interface is still no comparison to using XBMC.

i highly doubt they will add divx/xvid support to the toshiba players .. and even if they did there are much better solutions on the market.

(Octol said @ #1.2)

I don't know [or care] about about Walmart, but you should probably keep checking Pricegrabber Electronics for price drops. Soon enough they'll be selling at fire sale prices!

Better yet, Ebay. Like buying $20 laserdisc players :P . CED Players are a bit higher priced though.