Officials from movie and video games rental firm Blockbuster have announced that the company will offer high definition DVDs only in the Blu-ray format in 1,450 of its stores from next month, with those stores failing to carry any HD-DVD titles.
Blockbuster has offered both Blu-ray and HD-DVD titles in 250 of its stores since last year, with consumers apparently choosing Blu-ray discs more than 70 percent of the time. "The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbuster told The Associated Press
The company will continue to rent HD-DVD titles in the original 250 locations and online but the move towards Blu-ray will be seen as a huge boost for the format, which is backed by Sony and has exclusive support from film companies such as Disney and 20th Century Fox.
Smith also suggests that the release of the PlayStation 3 has helped the format. Many saw the inclusion of the Blu-ray drive in the console as primarily a means to help win the next generation format war, rather than because of its necessity for next generation games. Sony though has always insisted
that the larger capacity discs, compared to normal DVDs, are vital.
The Associated Press report quotes Ken Graffeo, co-president of The North American HD-DVD Promotional Group as saying that, “I think trying to make a format decision using such a short time period is really not measuring what the consumer is saying.” He suggests that the decision is shortsighted and skewed by the success of films released on Blu-ray during the first three months of the year.