Blu-ray Launch Sees Mixed Retailer Reaction

Posted Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:27 AM PDT by
Crowded Line at Best Buy The first Blu-ray disc titles and players hit retailers nationwide this week, but the format's long-awaited official launch is more of a dress rehearsal for Blu-ray than anything else.

At least that's according to The Hollywood Reporter, who in an informal survey of top retailers found there is still market confusion over both Blu-ray and HD DVD. Early sales numbers are also mixed, with some outlets not even carrying either format despite both being officially available.

A representative for a Wal-Mart store in Oceanside, California told HR that they don't have either format, even though the chain is supposed to be carrying both Blu-ray and HD DVD in at least 500 of its locations nationwide. "I think we're supposed to get it in, but I don't think it's come out yet," said the rep.

Meanwhile, a Best Buy in nearby Costa Mesa, California, is reportedly swift sales of Samsung's first-gen Blu-ray player. The store ordered four units and quickly sold out three, a representative said, with the fourth reserved as the outlet's demo unit. The chain is also promoting both its Blu-ray and HD DVD players and discs with prominent in-store displays and advertising.

Despite the varying reaction from retail, major Blu-ray backer Sony is nevertheless "very excited" by the response to the format thus far, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Benjamin Feingold told HR.

"It's the beginning of a new era, of high-definition packaged media," he said. "The reviews have been generally positive, and it's just the beginning. I expect the machines will sell quite well, as will the software, from a low base this summer and then building into the fourth quarter, when more manufacturers will have hardware in the market."
Tags: Samsung, Hardware (all tags)