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Wal-Mart puts stake through HD DVD's heart

With rumors swirling that Toshiba is about to scrap HD DVD altogether, the largest retailer in the world says it, too, is choosing to support Blu-ray Disc.

Things have gone from bad to worse for HD DVD in the space of one week.

Wal-Mart Stores announced on Friday morning that it, too, has chosen a side in the battle for high-definition video supremacy: by June, it will stock only Blu-ray Disc players.

Crave UK

A buyer in Wal-Mart's video division wrote this morning on her Wal-Mart Checkout blog that the retail giant had made the decision following Netflix and Best Buy's high-profile announcements that they will exclusively stock Blu-ray products.

Wrote Susan Chronister of Wal-Mart: "By June, Wal-Mart will only be carrying Blu-ray movies and hardware machines and, of course, standard-def movies, DVD players, and up-convert players."

"So," she continues, not mincing words, "if you bought the HD (DVD) player like me, I'd retire it to the bedroom, kid's playroom, or give it to your parents to play their John Wayne standard-def movies, and make space for a (Blu-Ray Disc) player."

That might be the best option at this point, as the dominoes keep falling in Blu-ray's favor. While Netflix and Best Buy were pretty damning evidence that the end was near, now it's glaringly obvious: it's over for HD DVD.

Now, that doesn't necessarily mean that consumers will automatically start buying Blu-ray players. As mentioned many times before here, prices will have to continue to fall on both Blu-ray players and packaged media for there to be any sort of mainstream adoption of the format.

There are rumors that Toshiba might soon be declaring defeat: The Hollywood Reporter has sources telling it that Toshiba, the main backer of HD DVD, might drop its allegiance with the format in the next few weeks.

Toshiba denies it, but stay tuned. There's likely much more to come in this drama.