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Best Buy $50 gift cards for HD DVD suckers

In a gesture of good will, Best Buy is doling out $50 gift cards to anyone who ever bought an HD DVD player at one of their stores.

Feel like a sucker for buying an HD DVD player? Well, if you happen to have bought it at Best Buy, you're in line to get a $50 gift card from the retail giant as part of its pity program for HD DVD owners. OK, I'm kidding about the pity program, but the $50 gift certificate is real, and you don't have to give up your HD DVD player to get one.

According the official release, Best Buy is giving $50 gift cards to "Customers who purchased an HD DVD player or HD DVD attachment from its U.S. stores before February 23, 2008." And owners of multiple HD DVD players can receive a gift card for each player or HD DVD attachment they purchased. Best Buy says it plans to distribute more than $10 million in gift cards.

The release goes on to say that, "Best Buy will proactively mail cards to all customers that the company can identify as having purchased an HD DVD player. Members of the Best Buy Reward Zone program, customers who purchased Performance Service Plans (PSPs), or who made their purchase on should look for their gift cards in the mail by May 1. Other customers who may not be easily identified can call (888) BEST-BUY to receive their gift cards with proof of purchase through a credit card or their Best Buy receipt."

There's another little tidbit in the release that's also worth mentioning. If you just want to get rid of your HD DVD player, Best Buy is opening its Online Trade-In Center on March 21 to HD DVD owners (this deal is open to any HD DVD owner regardless of where you bought your player). "Visitors to the site will receive instant estimates of the value of their HD DVD players and movies," the release says. "Those who agree with the estimates can then ship their goods to the Trade-In Center free of charge by downloading a prepaid shipping label and will receive an additional gift card as payment for their trade-in."

Best Buy isn't the first store to offer relief to HD DVD buyers. Circuit City has apparently been allowing customers who bought players within 90 days of HD DVD officially going belly up to return them for store credit.

As for for those $50 gift cards, you can buy whatever you want with them, but if you're cynical, you're probably thinking what I'm thinking: Perhaps Best Buy is hoping to entice current HD DVD owners to buy up its remaining stock of HD DVD movies, which are already being significantly discounted.

Any HD DVD owners care to comment on what they plan on doing with their $50 gift card?