Wal-Mart on Blu-ray bandwagon

Retailer will only sell Sony's hi-def movie discs, phasing out Toshiba's HD-DVD discs in its 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores this year.

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- National discount retailer Wal-Mart announced Friday that it had decided to only sell Sony's Blu-ray hi-definition movie discs, and will phase out Toshiba's competing HD-DVD formatted discs over the next several months.

Wal-Mart said that by June, its 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club stores would sell only Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray hardware players. Blu-ray and Toshiba's HD-DVD format are not compatible.

"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, Wal-Mart's Senior Vice President of Home Entertainment in a statement.

Wal-Mart said it would continue selling HD-DVD products, but over the next 30 days, customers will see a significant shift in emphasis to Blu-ray in both brick-and-mortar stores and online. The retailer said it will continue to sell DVDs and standard-definition hardware.

Wal-Mart is the latest movie vendor to choose Blu-ray over HD-DVD. Earlier this week, online movie rental company Netflix (NFLX) announced its support for Blu-ray, and said it would phase out HD-DVD as well. Video publishers Walt Disney (DIS, Fortune 500), Sony's Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s (NWS, Fortune 500) Twentieth Century Fox, and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer have all endorsed Blu-ray.

In a rivalry that mirrors the Betamax-VHS dispute of the 1970s, Sony (SNE) and Toshiba have been battling each other to define the industry's hi-definition video standard. The winner will see a boost in the sale of hardware needed to play the hi-definition discs. To top of page

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