Next Gen SlapFest: HD DVD Responds to Blu-ray's Target Exclusivity

Who'd have thought the next-gen format spin war would be full of half truths and twisted facts? Oh, right, EVERYONE. It all started from Sony's statement that Target stores will feature Sony's BDP-S300 as the exclusive high-definition player, and AP's article picking up on it saying Target was exclusively featuring Sony's player in lieu of selling any HD DVD players. That's exactly not true. Here's what Sony really said:

Beginning this fall and continuing at least through the holiday season, Target will feature Sony® Blu-ray Disc® players as the exclusive product in the emerging category of high-definition home video systems, as well as an expanded assortment of Blu-ray Disc movies.

That sentence is vague enough that you can say Sony claimed to be the exclusive high-definition product sold at Target, both in terms of standalone players and overall. Sony's the exclusive standalone high def player, but not the exclusive high def player period. Target's still selling Xbox 360 HD DVD players. The HD DVD camp struck back today in a statement saying:

Target will continue to carry the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive as well as HD DVD titles so we don't see much of a change in their plans to carry both formats. In fact, they continue to sell Toshiba HD DVD players on their website. Sony appears to have bought an end cap, just as HD DVD has in retail stores such as BestBuy and Circuit City.

This is true too, however Sony didn't say that they were going to feature only Sony Blu-ray movies, just the Blu-ray players. What Sony actually did was pay Target for the right to "end caps," which are prominent displays at the end of aisles. Putting BD players there means it's right in prime real estate for sales.

Target itself is saying it's not picking sides in the war and continues to offer both types of discs even while only choosing the BDP-S300 as the sole standalone player.

What does this mean to you? Not a whole lot, in the end. You can't pick up Toshiba standalone HD DVD players at Target proper, but you can still buy them on Target's website. You'll still be able to pick up the now discounted Xbox 360 drive in brick and mortar stores if that interests you. The lesson to take away from this is not to trust either camp entirely, but to look at what both are saying and make up your own mind. [Mercury News]

Sony Statement

HD DVD Statement:

Target will continue to carry the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive as well as HD DVD titles so we don't see much of a change in their plans to carry both formats. In fact, they continue to sell Toshiba HD DVD players on their website. Sony appears to have bought an end cap, just as HD DVD has in retail stores such as BestBuy and Circuit City.

What's important is that standalone HD DVD players are still much more affordable than Blu-ray players, plus they offer a better experience—just compare titles appearing in both formats like "300" or "Blood Diamond." Ultimately consumers will be the ones that determine what format provides the greatest value.