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The retail presence of the format war

Ben Drawbaugh

With a full year of the format war under our belt we grabbed our camera and took some pictures of both formats on display at local retailers. We hit Best Buy (with a Magnolia built in), Circuit City, Target, Wal-mart, Sears, K-Mart, Sound Advice, and Costco. We tried to get some pictures from the east coast and the west coast of the US in a few major retailers, and discovered how different their offerings are depending on location. Check out the full gallery after the jump and a synopsis.

In addition to our gallery we want to point out the best and worst displays we saw. Lets start with the best.

The best HD DVD display: Sound Advice
You see this demo the second you walk in the door, there is no way to miss it. We are surprised that there wasn't a Toshiba TV connected to it, but still impressed to see a next-gen player first thing when you walk in.
Toshiba HD DVD display

The best Blu-ray display: Best Buy/Magnolia
Here in Florida the Magnolia stores are inside the Best Buy and they had the best display in the Magnolia section. It features the Pansonic Blu-ray player and a 65 inch Panasonic Plasma. It might not look like much in the picture, but in person it is something to see.

The most consistent display: Sony Blu-ray
We saw this in a number of stores on the end of an isle; in Best Buy, Circuit City and Sears. While not the most impressive display you can't miss it, and the nice Sony HDTV. With movies next to it to boot.

Most available product: Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on drive
Even though our local Target, Wal-Mart and K-Mart didn't have any next-gen format movies or stand alone players, they all had the Xbox360 add-on drive. In fact it was the only player we saw at every store. We're not sure if Microsoft requires everyone who carries the 360 to stock this product, but either way, good job on making HD DVD available to everyone.

Most movies in stock: Best Buy
We didn't sit and count them all, but from the looks of it, Best Buy carries every movie for both formats.

Best overall next-gen support: Best Buy
They had the most movies, the most players on display and the most available on the shelf.

Worst display: Sears
Not only did we almost get ran out of Sears for taking pictures, but their displays were a mess.

Biggest disappointment: Circuit City, tied with FYE
We don't expect much out of most retailers when it comes to HD, but Circuit City really has a long way to go get in the game with Best Buy. Yes that is all the HD DVD titles they have.

FYE at the same time is a major retailers for movies and music and to only stock a hand full of movies is a joke.

Check out all the pictures in our gallery.

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