Woolworths has thrown its weight behind Blu-Ray high-definition DVDs by ditching the rival HD-DVD format from its stores.
The high-street chain says its stores will stock only Blu-Ray discs from March, with HD-DVDs being sold solely online.
Woolworths says the moves comes after Blu-Ray DVDs outsold HD-DVDs by ten-to-one in its stores over Christmas.
It plans to have a Blu-Ray DVD chart in all 820 stores and a Blu-Ray DVD back catalogue section in larger stores.
Sony Playstation 3
Woolworths DVD buyer Steven McGunigel said: ‘Sales figures clearly show that the market is moving towards one format of high definition DVD.
‘The main reason is the success of Sony’s PlayStation 3 machine. Because it plays Blu-Ray discs, there are over three quarters of a million homes in the UK that can view the new high-definition format. There is nowhere near that number of HD-DVD players around.’
Disney’s Ratatouille is expected to be the first Woolworths Blu-Ray DVD chart topper. Other big release films coming in the spring on Blu-Ray DVD are I Am Legend and Sweeney Todd.
The new format war has split the electronics and entertainment industries. Blu-Ray has been backed by Samsung, Sony, Warner, Dell, Apple, Disney and 20th Century Fox. HD-DVD has been backed by Toshiba, NEC, Microsoft and Universal.
Earlier this month Warner Bros announced it will stop selling HD-DVD movies and will concentrate solely Blu-Ray discs from the end of May.
Blu-Ray and HD-DVD makers have been vying for supremacy in the market and the two formats have support from a number of big hitters.
Which? technology expert Mike Briggs said: ‘Recent events have increasingly made it look as if Blu-Ray may become the dominant format.
‘However, it’s impossible to be 100% sure, so in the absence of a crystal ball we’d advise consumers who want to take the high definition DVD plunge to opt for a dual format player.
‘For instance the LG BH100 Best Buy plays both HD-DVD and Blu ray – so if one format falls by the wayside you won’t be left with a very expensive machine and no discs to playback.’