Wal-Mart Dumps HD DVD; Toshiba To Pull Plug?

LOS ANGELES - Wal-Mart announced today that it will drop HD DVD discs and players from its inventory in favor of Sony's Blu-ray format.

The retail chain's decision follows recent news that both Netflix and Best Buy have decided on Blu-ray as the next-gen format of choice. Wal-Mart plans to phase out HD DVD and go exclusively Blu-ray by June.

"We've listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, SVP of home entertainment for Wal-Mart U.S.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Toshiba "is expected to pull the plug on its HD DVD format in the coming weeks" though no official decision has yet been made.

"Given the market developments in the past month, Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players," Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products, told the Reporter.

Warner Brothers' decision to go Blu-ray sounded the death-knell for the Toshiba-backed format in January. Analysts report that Sony has now taken over the high-def market with an overwhelming percentage of Blu-ray hardware and software sales compared to HD DVD.

With all but two of Hollywood's major studios now in the Blu-ray camp, HD DVD now appears to have more support from the porn industry than it does from the mainstream. While adult studios are aware of the market shift and are increasingly adopting Blu-ray, replication and authoring expenses make the format cost-prohibitive for many producers.

Hustler Video, Sin City, Digital Playground, Vivid, Wicked, Zero Tolerance, SexZ Pictures and K-Beech are all currently selling HD DVD movies...but not in Wal-Mart.