After nine months, major retailer JB Hi-Fi hasto exclusively stock Blu-ray products in-store, opening the floor for HD DVD players and titles.
While the chain has been selling HD DVD titles online since early this year, the decision to share physical store space with the competing format is a major setback for the Sony driven Blu-ray, in the ever see-sawing high definition format war.
Citing Paramount's decision to go exclusively HD DVD as "the most significant paradigm change", JB Hi-Fi marketing director Scott Browning said "movie enthusiasts would be deprived of too many popular titles" had JB remained Blu-ray only.
Toshiba, the primary backer of the HD DVD format claimed in a press release today that the decision "ensures consumers emerge as the winner as their choice of hardware and software is broadened", although to many it may seem as an extension to an ongoing war that will only add to the confusion.
"More choice inherently means more confusion, particularly when we are discussing technology," Browning concedes. "The challenge for us as retailers is to ensure consumers have all the facts evenly presented to draw their own conclusions."
Browning believes that the ongoing problem of which format to buy will eventually sort itself out. "With early adopters the consensus is that they will probably have access to hardware that drives both formats in short term and accept the reality of two formats for now. By the time the early majority of adopters get involved a large part of the decisions will already be made via the popularity of both or either format."
"I think the risk has passed where the consumer will be making a dud technology decision as both formats will be around for some time to come."