A decision by US retail giant Best Buy has swung the HD-DVD format war – which pits the Xbox 360 against the PS3 – further in favour of Blu-ray. In yet another blow to the HD-DVD camp, Best Buy has opted to support Blu-ray over the flagging Microsoft-backed format.
While the company isn't going quite so far as to stop stocking HD-DVD products, the company's president and COO, Brian Dunn, has said†
that it will “shine a spotlight” on Blu-ray products.
“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way”, said Dunn. “We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format. Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them.”
So, Best Buy is not backing Blu-ray because it is increasingly becoming the preferred format for movie studios such as the recently defected Warner Bros
? You've got to admire that kind of consumer-focussed altruism...
“Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices”, Dunn added. “Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”
The HD-DVD format also took a hit yesterday, when online US rental company Netflix said that it would back Blu-ray. An announcement from the company told us, “Citing the decision by four of the six major movie studios to publish high-def DVD titles only in the Sony-developed Blu-ray format, Netflix said that as of now it will purchase only Blu-ray discs and will phase out by roughly year's end the alternative high-def format, HD DVD, developed by Toshiba.”
Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix, said that the format war is making life difficult for the consumer. "The prolonged period of competition between two formats has prevented clear communication to the consumer regarding the richness of the high-def experience versus standard definition," he said. "We're now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format, bring clarity to the consumer and accelerate the adoption of high-def. Going forward, we expect that all of the studios will publish in the Blu-ray format and that the price points of high-def DVD players will come down significantly. These factors could well lead to another decade of disc-based movie watching as the consumer's preferred means."
In other words – Netflix is seeing other industry movers heading in the direction of Blu-ray and wants to be on that bandwagon.
Things are looking increasingly bad for HD-DVD. Best Buy's decision mirrors that of UK retailer Woolworths, which decided in January
that it would no longer support the format.
It's even got to the point where Microsoft has said that it could consider offering Blu-ray support for the Xbox 360