Blu-ray Launch Sees Mixed Retailer Reaction
Posted Tue Jun 27, 2006 at 11:27 AM PDT by
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
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."