By Chris Nicholls

ARKANSAS, USA: The world’s biggest retailer, Wal-Mart, announced Saturday it would drop HD DVD to stock Blu-ray hardware and software exclusively, dealing what most believe is the final blow to the rival HD DVD format.

Wal-Mart’s move, which will see HD DVD software and hardware phased out over several months, will mean their 4,000 Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club stores will stock only Blu-ray players and software.

The changeover is expected to be completed by June, the company said.

"We’ve listened to our customers, who are showing a clear preference toward Blu-ray products and movies with their purchases," said Gary Severson, senior vice president, Home Entertainment, Wal-Mart U.S. 

"With the customers best interest in all we do, we wanted to share our decision and timeline with them as soon as possible, knowing it will help simplify their purchase decision, increase selection, and increase adoption long term. We anticipate enhancing our selection with continued great values in hi-definition Blu-ray products, so our customers can further enhance their entertainment experience at home."

Wal-Mart will continue to sell remaining HD DVD products, but said the changeover would begin to be noticeable in “less than 30 days”.