R.I.P. HD DVD

Were you like me, and you purchased an HD DVD player at the end of last year? The chances are good that you may be suffering from a bit of buyer’s remorse at this point, now that Blu-ray has carried the day (for reasons that I’ve covered in previous entries). The Fed has bailed out Bear Stearns, but are there bailouts available for those who bought HD DVD players?

Well, you may be pleased to know that there are. Circuit City led the way by extending their return period to 90 days. If you return your HD DVD player, you can get a store credit for the full purchase price. You’ll still have to pony up for the difference in cost in order to get a Blu-ray replacement, but at least your original purchase money won’t be completely down the tubes.

And now Best Buy has stepped up in a big way. They are giving $50 in store credit (through a gift card) to anyone who ever bought an HD DVD player from them. There’s no time limit, and even better, Best Buy won’t wait for you to make a claim. The company is going to go through its sales records and mail the cards out to you. And you don’t even have to turn in your HD DVD player (so you can still watch that free bonus copy of “The Bourne Identity” that came in the box with your player). Members of Best Buy’s Reward Zone, or customers who purchase an extended warranty, or made their purchase online at BestBuy.com should receive their gift card by May 1. (The company announcement implies that if you’re not in one of these three categories, you may need to contact the company to get your gift card.) Best Buy estimates that they will give out more than $10 million in gift cards as a result of this program.

And if you have an HD DVD player or even HD DVD discs, you can get a Best Buy gift card for them, no matter where you bought them. Starting March 21, you will be able to visit www.bestbuytradein.com and find out how much you can get for the items. If you want to accept the offer, you will be able to download a prepaid shipping label to make it easy to send in your items. (This site also offers credits for computers, digital cameras, and other consumer electronics devices.) Hey, it’s a lot easier than trying to sell them on eBay!