Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Circuit City all rule out change in strategy despite Warner decision

US retailers refuse to call time on HD battle

Major US retailers have refused to declare HD DVD as dead, with the vast majority saying that the Warner Bros deal will not cause a change to their strategy of supporting both formats.

Speaking at CES, Target’s vice president of consumer electronics, Steve Eastman said: "I don’t think we’re in a position to go out and declare a winner. Until it settles completely I think we’re going to continue to see consumers sitting on the sidelines."

Wal-Mart’s senior vice president for electronics, Gary Severson echoed that sentiment: "It would be our hope that by this Christmas there would be a clearer choice for the customer, instead of battling back and forth, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen or not."

Best Buy and Circuit City were among the retailers to state that the move would not signal a change in strategy, although both did state that they were pleased at the news as it brought nearer a time where there may be only one format.

"We are very excited to see progress of any type, and we see this as significant progress," said Circuit City’s chief executive, Phil Schoonover.

Brad Anderson, Best Buy’s CEO added that Warner’s move
"makes it a lot easier to see the likelihood that we get to one format, and it makes it easier for us as retailers to help push it to that one format".

Wal-Mart’s Severson added: "If we were able to have one united message and say, ‘Here’s high definition TV, here’s a high definition DVD, here’s the medium to play on it’, it’s a much cleaner story to customers that the industry can push, that every retailer can push and the customer goes, ‘OK I get it.’

"Right now they’re basically being taught to wait and see what happens."

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