American retail giant Wal-Mart is to start selling Blu-ray players for under $300.

Marking the cheapest starting price point yet for players in the format, even cheaper than the PS3 which sells for $399 in the States, the hardware on offer will be a Funai player rebadged for Wal-Mart under the "Magnavox" brand.

The Magnavox NB500MG9 will be Profile 1.1 with picture-in-picture functionality and should go on sale throughout the chain by 26 May.

This same player also will be sold at Best Buy under the chain’s in-house Insignia brand in July, but the for higher price tag of around $350.

This is expected to give the next-gen disc format a shot in the arm as far as retail sales go - despite Blu-ray winning the format war following the demise of HD DVD, consumers are still slow to adopt the expensive format, especially in the light of the recent economic downturn.