Retailer offers gift cards to HD DVD buyers

Retailer offers gift cards to HD DVD buyers

Best Buy is offering gift cards to U.S. consumers who bought HD DVD players and accessories.

U.S. retailer Best Buy said it will offer US$50 gift cards to U.S. consumers who bought HD DVD players and accessories, a month after the retailer abandoned HD DVD to push the rival format, Blu-ray Disc.

The gift card will be available starting March 21 to consumers who bought HD DVD players or accessories before Feb. 23, Best Buy said. The gift card can be used to make in-store or online purchases from the retailer.

Best Buy expects to distribute more than US$10 million in gift cards to U.S. customers, the company said.

The offer comes after Toshiba and movie studios abandoned the HD DVD format, conceding to Sony's Blu-Ray Disc format. Video rental companies like Netflix and Blockbuster and major U.S. electronics vendors including Wal-Mart and Circuit City have already abandoned HD DVD, expressing preference to distribute Blu-ray Disc products.

"The DVD format war has divided our customers in a way we haven't seen since Betamax took on VHS more than 20 years ago," said Brian J. Dunn, president and chief operating officer for Best Buy, in a statement.

Best Buy will mail cards to customers that purchased HD DVD players, the company said. The company may not be able to identify all customers, but a user can call Best Buy with a proof of purchase.

Owners of Toshiba HD DVD player models including the HD-A1, HD-A2, HD-A20, HD-XA2, HD-A3, HD-A30 and HD-A35 qualify for the offer. Users who purchased the Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD player accessory model 9Z5-00013 also qualify for the offer, according to Best Buy.

The offer does not extend to HD DVD-equipped computers and laptops, or "the so-called 'dual-format' or 'universal' high-definition disc player models designed to play both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD media," Best Buy said.

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