June 3, 2008 / 6:32 PM / 12 years ago

Wal-Mart pushing sales of Blu-ray players

Television images are reflected on a sign for Blu-ray Discs at the 2007 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada January 9, 2007. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

NEW YORK (Reuters) - With the high definition DVD format war settled, Wal-Mart Stores Inc is now aggressively promoting sales of Blu-ray players.

The world’s largest retailer said on Tuesday that from June 8-14, it is offering a $100 Wal-Mart gift card with the purchase of any Blu-ray player in its stores.

Wal-Mart has also increased the brands of Blu-ray players it sells, adding Magnavox, Samsung and Panasonic, and it will sell select Blu-ray movie titles for $15 starting June 8, including “3:10 to Yuma”, “Shooter” and “300”.

Until earlier this year, consumers who were seeking sharper movies on high-definition DVDs had to choose between two competing standards — the Blu-ray high-definition DVD format, developed by Sony Corp and the rival HD DVD camp, which was backed by Toshiba Corp.

The competing standards stalled the shift to the new technology in the $24 billion home DVD market as consumers, worried they would be stuck with obsolete technology, avoided buying the players.

But in February, Wal-Mart said it planned to exclusively back the Blu-ray format and later that month, Toshiba said it would end its HD DVD business.

Wal-Mart, which has been working to boost sales of consumer electronics, also said on Tuesday it has completed the redesign of its consumer electronics department in stores nationwide.

The redesigned departments include more space for consumers to test video games, an expanded selection of GPS navigation products, a new display center for computers and a bigger selection of high-definition TVs.

Reporting by Nicole Maestri; editing by Maureen Bavdek

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