Sure, the format war between Blu-ray and HD DVD might be over, but the walking wounded are still among us: early adopters who chose the losing format. In a move to soften the blow—and shore up customer loyalty—electronics retailer Best Buy is offering $50 gift cards to customers who purchased an HD DVD player or HD DVD “attachment” (meaning, the Xbox 360 HD DVD drive) from a U.S. retail location before February 23, 2008. Even better, customers will get a $50 gift card for each eligible HD DVD item they purchased, so folks who bought multiple players are eligible for multiple gift cards. All told, Best Buy plans to give out more than $10 million in gift cards under the program.
“At Best Buy, we understood and shared our customers’ frustrations as they were being asked to choose one format or the other,” said Best Buy president and COO Brian J. Dunn, in a statement. “Now that the format war is over, we hope these gift cards will reassure our customers that we will help them make a smooth transition into the right technology for their needs.”
Items eligible for the $50 gift card include Toshiba’s HD-A1, HD-A2, HD-A20, HD-XA2, HD-A3, HD-A30, and HD-A35 HD DVD players, as well as Microsoft’s HD DVD player accessory for the Xbox 360.
Best Buy says most customers won’t have to do anything to receive their gift cards: Best Buy is proactively mailing them out to all customers they can identify as having purchased a qualifying product; customers should receive their cards by May 1. Other customers can call Best Buy with proof of purchase through a credit card or a receipt to obtain their gift card.
“The beauty of this offer is that it doesn’t require our customers to give up their HD-DVD player,” said best Buy chief marketing officer Barry Judge. But in case HD DVD owners do want to get rid of their HD DVD hardware can visit Best Buy’s online Trade In Center to get an estimate on the value of their HD DVD players and movies; if they like the number Best Buy gives them, they can print a shipping label and send the goods to Best Buy and receive an additional gift card as payment for the trade-in. The trade-in service is open to any HD DVD owner, regardless of whether they purchased the system through Best Buy.