It seems that Target is semi-following in Blockbuster’s footsteps as far as the next-generation high definition DVD format war goes, as they have made a move that solidly puts them behind Blu-ray this holiday season. Target announced today that it would start selling standalone Blu-ray players in their brick-and-mortar locations beginning this fall. This obviously leads into the holiday rush. Consumers will be able to purchase the Sony BDP-S300 at $499 USD, as well as have the option to select from an expanded selection of Blu-ray movie titles. This is the first standalone high-definition player that Target has made available in stores, but they do also sell the Blu-ray PS3 and Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on.
Back in June, Blockbuster announced Blu-ray exclusivity in it’s retail stores as well, citing that in test markets the format was rented far more than HD DVD was. They do, however, continue to rent HD DVD through Blockbuster Online and Blockbuster Total Access. Target will also continue selling both HD DVD titles and Blu-ray titles in stores, but we expect that Blu-ray section to grow a bit larger.
Target spokesperson Brie Heath told the Associated Press that this isn’t a political move. “We are not proclaiming one format vs. the other as the preferred consumer technology, and software will continue to be available to our guests in both the Blu-ray and HD DVD format,” said Brie. We’ll see how this all plays out in the fourth quarter.