Retailers Launch HD DVD Fire Sales

Companies that dropped support for HD DVD include Wal-Mart and Best Buy.
As HD DVD heads to an early grave following the loss of key proponent Toshiba, retailers have launched fire sales to dump players and movie titles in the high-definition format., which announced Wednesday that it would only promote HD DVD rival Blu-ray, on Wednesday was offering major Hollywood movies in the losing format at 30% to 50% off the original price. The titles included Transformers, all three Bourne films in a package, American Gangster, 300, Beowulf, and the director's cut of Zodiac.

Toshiba, which said last week that it would stop selling HD DVD players, recorders, and disc drives for PCs by the end of March, slashed the price of its HD-A3 player from $150 to $100. The player was available online on Amazon and on Circuit City. At the latter, the player came with two movies, Bourne Identity and 300.

To help people find HD DVD movies and players at bargain prices, the site DVD Talk launched an online forum called "The Official HD DVD Fire Sale Clearance Thread."

Following Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group's decision earlier this month to stop shipping movies in HD DVD by the end of the year, Microsoft slashed in half the price of its HD DVD video player for the Xbox 360 video game console. The player now sells for $129.

Companies that dropped support for HD DVD, including Wal-Mart and Best Buy, said it was necessary to eliminate customer confusion over having to choose between two competing and incompatible technologies. Most consumers have shunned high-definition DVDs and players to avoid being on the losing end of the format war, which was reminiscent of the battle between Betamax and VHS in the early days of videocassette recorders. VHS eventually won over Sony-backed Betamax.

One of the key reasons Sony won the format war was the inclusion of a Blu-ray disc player with the PlayStation 3. Sony sold more than 2.5 million PlayStation 3s last year, according to the NPD Group.

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