Blockbuster Sides with Blu-Ray in HD Format War
It's sort of a big deal for a retailer of Blockbuster's size to take sides like this. Meanwhile, many will find either format too expensive to adopt for the time being.
Blockbuster will rent high-definition DVDs only in the Blu-ray format in 1,450 stores when it expands its high-def offerings next month, dealing a major blow to the rival HD DVD format.
The move, being announced Monday, could be the first step in resolving a format war that has kept confused consumers from rushing to buy new DVD players until they can determine which format will dominate the market.
Blockbuster has been renting both Blu-ray and HD DVD titles in 250 stores since late last year and found that consumers were choosing Blu-ray titles more than 70% of the time.
"The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," said Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbuster.
Blockbuster will continue to rent HD DVD titles in the original 250 locations and online, the Dallas-based company said.
The decision was helped in large part by the lopsided availability of titles in Blu-ray, Smith said. All major studios except one are releasing films in Blu-ray, with several, including Disney, releasing exclusively in Blu-ray. Only Universal Studios, which is owned by General Electric, exclusively supports HD DVD.