February 11, 2008 7:37 p.m.; Page B4
In another move that appears to cement Blu-ray's position as the winning next-generation format for DVDs, Netflix and Best Buy Co. are throwing their support behind Blu-ray discs.

The votes of support for Blu-ray, developed by Sony Corp., from Best Buy and Netflix don't bode well for the rival high-definition format, HD DVD, largely developed by Toshiba Corp. It is still reeling from a major blow from Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros., which had been supporting both formats but in January said it would start supporting Blu-ray only.

Toshiba has been running an extensive marketing campaign, including price cuts and steady advertising, to keep consumers interested in HD DVD, but didn't make promises about the future of its format after Monday's news about the retailers. "Given these developments, Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players," a spokeswoman said. She called the decision by Best Buy "unfortunate."

he decision by Best Buy, the nation's #2 DVD retailer, should encourage other retailers to take similar steps. A spokeswoman for Wal-mart, the nation's #1 retailer, said it was still undecided on the future of its high-definition discs as of Monday evening.

Best Buy said that beginning next month, the electronics retailer will showcase Blu-ray hardware and software products in its retail and online channels in the U.S., but it will continue to sell HD DVD products.

Chief Operating Officer Brian Dunn said: "Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices. Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products."

Netflix said it will move toward stocking high-definition DVDs exclusively in the Blu-ray format, and would phase out by roughly year end the alternative high-definition format, HD DVD, developed by Toshiba Corp.

The online DVD-rental service has stocked both formats since they became available in 2006, but said the decision of four of the six major studios to issue films only in Blu-ray format made it likely the Sony format will prevail. Last summer, Blockbuster Inc. announced its support for Blu-ray.

Walt Disney Co., News Corp.'s Fox, Sony Pictures back Blu-ray exclusively, and will be joined by Warner Bros. once its commitment to HD DVD expires. Universal, owned by General Electric Co., and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount unit remain in the HD DVD camp.

--Dan Gallagher contributed to this article.