Blockbuster Focuses on Blu-ray over HD-DVD Movie Rentals

A significant blow to the HD DVD format

Posted by Staff
Blockbuster Focuses on Blu-ray over HD-DVD Movie Rentals
Movie-rental company (and one time GameStation parent), Blockbuster, has said that it is to rent high-definition DVDs in the Sony-backed Blu-ray format only, at 1,450 of its U.S. stores a significant blow to the Microsoft and Toshiba-backed HD DVD high definition movie format.

"The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbusters, told the Associated Press news agency.

Mr Smith pointed out that most studios were offering films on Blu-ray, with the exception of Universal which has been supplying films on HD DVD alone.

"While it is still too early to say which high-definition format will become the industry standard, we will continue to closely monitor customer rental patterns both at our stores and online, so we can adjust our inventory mix accordingly and ensure that Blockbuster is offering customers the most convenient access to the movies they want, in the format they want," added Smith.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group claim that Blockbuster's move is short sighted, and has been prompted by the success of films released exclusively on Blu-ray to date such as Casino Royale and Spider-Man III. But then of course, they would say that!

Meanwhile, while we wait for Nintendo to release (standard) DVD-enabled Wiis, are we likely to see a Microsoft-backed Blu-ray movie player add-on for Xbox 360 sometime soon?
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Comments

Joji 18 Jun 2007 12:14
1/5
Sounds like they are putting their eggs in one basket, even when PS3 is selling like crap to a sewer. There's a long way to go and a lot to be done yet. What this hasn't said is what the current figures for normal dvd rentals are in comparison.

Another Blockbuster debacle? We'll see soon enough.
Ditto 18 Jun 2007 13:03
2/5
Joji wrote:
Sounds like they are putting their eggs in one basket, even when PS3 is selling like crap to a sewer. There's a long way to go and a lot to be done yet. What this hasn't said is what the current figures for normal dvd rentals are in comparison.

Another Blockbuster debacle? We'll see soon enough.


I think this is a smart move. There are more PS3s out there than HD-DVD players and more studios supporting Bluray so you might as well back the format that currently looks like it will succeed rather than buying two of all the movies that are on HD-DVD and Bluray, only to have to sell the HD-DVD copies at a loss later.

The fact that two of the biggest movies of the past year are Bluray-only (because of Sony) should be sending shivers down the HD-DVD PG's spine....
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AndyJWS 18 Jun 2007 13:21
3/5
Corporate bitchiness ahoy - any shock anyone would have to BB favouring BR over HD can soon be explained by the fact that BB got ditched unceremoniously a couple of years back by Viacom. Guess which format is preferred by Viacom's studios - primarily being Paramount...

And with Blockbuster still haemmoraging money, it could all wind up being moot anyway - narrowing your selection compared to your competitors is hardly good business sense when you're trying to regain market share and increase revenue...
Joji 18 Jun 2007 13:33
4/5
I agree Andy, if you rely on rentals for money they shouldn't pigeon hole these films based on format. What would happen if Blockbuster stopped supporting any of the current games formats in their rentals? That would be dumb.

'Sorry mate, we don't have that film in that format.' Terrible, so what will those folk that have HD-DVD do? Probably build their own collections. If HD-DVD started to support standard dvd multi region coding, that would weigh heavily in HD's favour (and I'd buy one too).
Hypnotoad 19 Jun 2007 01:12
5/5
Sony's Bluray initiative is paying off at the moment, but will it hold is the question. The HD-DVD camp is aware that it's loosing it's grip and therefor has acted to produce cheap HD-DVD players which will start to appear around the world in a matter of months. Walmart I recall put in an order for 500,000 of these (or something like that) and they'll sell for around US$150 when they land. What will happen to the format war at that point? Will be very interesting to see.

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