Circuit City Stores Inc. is getting on the Blu-ray digital video format bandwagon by tripling the period in which customers who purchased a rival HD DVD player can return them.
The nation's No. 2 electronics retailer has instructed its stores to "take care of our customers" and accept returns of HD DVD players within 90 days of purchase, spokesman Jim Babb said.
Several industry moves in recent weeks — including the announcement by creator Toshiba Corp. that it has stopped making HD DVD players and discs — have handed the format a clear defeat in the battle for primacy in the next generation of movie-disc technology.
"The recent resolution of the next generation of video disc formats is an important and singular development in the marketplace," Babb said in an e-mail statement.
When Toshiba dropped out of the fight, it conceded to Sony's Blu-ray format, which delivers crisp, clear pictures and sound on high-definition TVs.
The biggest battle between two video formats since Betamax lost out to VHS in the 1980s was resolved after multiple movie studios, including Sony Pictures, Walt Disney Co. Warner Bros. Entertainment and News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, pledged to support the Blu-ray format.
In the long run, consumers are expected to benefit because they no longer have to agonize over which technology to choose for high-definition movies. But Toshiba's defeat leaves 1 million customers worldwide with dead-end hardware.
Circuit City, which has a usual 30-day return policy, is allowing customers who purchased HD DVD players to return them for store credit. The policy doesn't apply to HD DVD movie discs.
The Richmond company noted that while some people may want to return the players, others are buying them on clearance because they still play high-quality HD DVDs and improve the playback of standard DVDs.