June 19, 2007 by Arlen Schweiger
Chalk one up for Blu-ray this time in the next-gen DVD format war.
Despite the efforts of online rental giant Netflix, Blockbuster remains a ubiquitous source for video rentals and the company is making a concerted effort to push Blu-ray rather than HD DVD on the viewing public, it announced on Monday.
Blockbuster will roll out expanded Blu-ray inventory in 1,700 stores by mid-July, it said, with only the initial 250 stores that currently serve up both Blu-ray and HD DVD continuing to carry both options of inventory. Both formats will be offered through Blockbuster’s online service, just as Netflix offers both in its online realm.
The expansion will lead to more than 170 rentable Blu-ray titles in July, with more as they are released, says Blockbuster, which pointed to its rental patterns and the amount of studio backing it says led to the decision on Blu-ray.
“For 2007, Blu-ray rentals have been outpacing HD DVD rentals in our stores where we’ve been offering the high-definition format about 70 to 30 percent. Like the performance we have seen in our stores, Blu-ray is outperforming HD DVD in online rentals by more than double,” says Blockbuster Inc. company spokesman and manager, corporate communications, Jeff Sieg. “Additionally, more studios are supporting the Blu-ray format than HD DVD so you’ll see more Blu-ray product coming out, particularly new releases. While we think it’s too early to say which format will become the industry standard, we’re expanding our inventory of Blu-ray product to accommodate the growing demand for Blu-ray in our stores.”
Sieg says that Blockbuster is in fact “format neutral,” but is following what seems to indicate customer preference in this case. The question concerning the next-gen high-def DVD format for potential purchasers then: Is the customer really always right? We’ll see.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
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