The consumer electronics retailer said it would prominently showcase Blu-ray hardware, DVD titles, and software products in its stores and online in the United States. "Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them," Brian Dunn, Best Buy's president and chief operating officer, said in a statement released Monday.
Dunn said the company believes customers would benefit from a widely accepted single format by eliminating the confusion that ensues when having to choose between two competing and incompatible technologies. "Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products," Dunn said.
Consumers have been shy about buying high-definition DVD players and titles because of the format battle reminiscent of the VHS-Betamax competition in the early days of VCRs. "We believe our move to feature Blu-ray should help consumers feel confident in their hi-def content choices," said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy's senior VP for home solutions.
Best Buy is the latest high-profile company to announce support for Blu-ray. Netflix on Monday said it plans to stock high-definition videos in the Blu-ray format exclusively. Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group announced last month that it would release all of its high-definition titles in the Blu-ray format by year's end.
Warner Bros. accounts for 20% of DVD sales in the U.S. Its support of Blu-ray led many analysts to believe that proponents of HD DVD had lost, and Blu-ray would be the sure winner. The latest rejections extend Blu-ray's lead further.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, and Buena Vista Home Entertainment also have backed Blu-ray, while Paramount Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment continue to publish in the HD DVD format.
Among player manufacturers, Sony, Hitachi and Philips favor Blu-ray, while Toshiba and NEC support HD DVD.