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Netflix to cease carrying new HD DVD titles

The tide continues to turn in the ongoing high-definition format war. Netflix, the first choice in online movie rental service in the U.S., today announced that it will exclusively stock Blu-ray Disc as the only choice for its customers looking for high-definition content.

Earlier this year, Warner Bros. shook the industry when it announced that it would release movies exclusively on Blu-ray Disc starting this summer. Netflix states that, with four major Hollywood studios now behind Blu-ray Disc, it too will back the format held by the majority.

Since the inception of HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc, Netflix gave its customers opportunity to rent from both formats. But by the end of this year, the online rental service will have phased out HD DVD, leaving Blu-ray Disc as the lone option.

HD DVD hardware owners will have to look to alternative rental outlets for software, as Blockbuster announced last summer that its retail stores would also carry only Blu-ray Disc. Blockbuster’s Total Access online rental service, however, continues to provide HD DVD as an option.

"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," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. "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."

Only a small percentage of Netflix’s seven million subscribers elected to rent high-definition movies, and the company says that most of its customers have chosen Blu-ray Disc over HD DVD.

"From the Netflix perspective, focusing on one format will enable us to create the best experience for subscribers who want high-definition to be an important part of how they enjoy our service," Added Sarandos.

As part of the transition to Blu-ray Disc, the Netflix said it will acquire no new HD DVDs but that its existing inventory would continue to rent until the discs' natural life cycle (through loss or damage) takes them out of circulation in the coming months.

Although Blu-ray Disc may have more support, Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Entertainment are still exclusive to HD DVD. This means that Netflix customers will be without a high-definition option for upcoming releases such as Beowulf, Bee Movie, Sweeney Todd, The Jack Ryan Collection, American Gangster, Braveheart, Forrest Gump, Star Trek and potentially even Indiana Jones.



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uh, what?
By ElFenix on 2/11/2008 11:17:18 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
"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," said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

the "richness" of the HD "experience" was "communicated" (i hate marketing speak) to consumers the moment they watched their first NFL game in HD.




RE: uh, what?
By Gul Westfale on 2/11/2008 11:24:48 AM , Rating: 5
yes, but did that leverage the technological prowess of these formats to create new synergies in the digital millenium? i think not. :)


RE: uh, what?
By crimson117 on 2/11/2008 11:30:17 AM , Rating: 2
The real problem: Consumers aren't buying many discs or players yet.

Doublespeak reasoning: Consumers have not had the richness communicated to them effectively [or else they would have bought players already]!

I don't see what he had to mask this in marketing language... no one would be offended by the fact that consumers aren't biting until we're sure of the format that will prevail.

And it's BS because whether there's one or ten formats to choose from, the richness in experience would presumably be equal among them.


RE: uh, what?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/11/2008 11:33:44 AM , Rating: 1
More than likely the price of entry and price of movies is what is holding consumers back. "Format War" is not holding people back.


RE: uh, what?
By Mitch101 on 2/11/2008 12:22:45 PM , Rating: 4
I agree while it may appear we have a winner in the format war the problem is the players are still $350+ range meaning I and many others will live on Direct HD or wait until there is a $100 BLU-RAY player.

Had they gone with HD-DVD I would have gone that route and been buying movies.

What has happened because of the format war is that I realize I don't need to buy movies. I wouldn't buy DVD because HD was out. I wouldn't buy HD movies because there was a format war. The movie studios have kind of weened me off buying movies. Thankyou HD-DVR. I never really cared about additional content so in all the format was is saving me money. By the time I come around now since going the HD-DVR route movies will probably be on the $6.99 Best Buy deals of the week in the Sunday paper or just rent them when the players drop to $100. Of course now if many others like me are out there they will blame piracy for why HD movies aren't selling.

Thankyou format war.


RE: uh, what?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/11/2008 12:31:08 PM , Rating: 2
You've got a point. I picked up a cheap HD-DVD player and have been pleased with it. On the other hand I have only purchased 3 titles (plus the 7 that came with the player). Majority of my movie collection is in DVD. Most of them aren't available in either HD format, not that I would re-purchase something I already own. Price of entry on BR players isn't helping either. I threw down about $150 for a HD-DVD player. The generally accepted magic number for players seems to be $100. BR will not pull any sort of widespread adoption until they can get there. Clock is ticking too since Cable/Internet providers are ramping up HD content agressively.


RE: uh, what?
By ElFenix on 2/11/2008 2:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
not to mention that not even a quarter of US households have an HD TV yet. (nielson report at the end of october was 14%. even if black friday and the holiday season resulted in a lot of new HD sets being purchased, i doubt an additional 10% of households picked up an HD set)


RE: uh, what?
By ATC on 2/11/2008 12:40:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
"Format War" is not holding people back


I don't know whose kool-aid you've been downing to think that. That's what the HD-DVD group would want everyone to believe and they've successfully fooled some, evidently, into thinking two competing incompatible formats is in the best interest of consumers.

However consumers this time around are a lot more informed than before with open access to information which is precisely why the format war is indeed holding back mass adoption.

Player prices will continue to go down as will the media. You don't have to look too far into the past to recall when people said the same thing about CDs and then DVDs and now this.

Are you one of those who bought that $3000 dvd-burner or the $1500 dvd player? Get over the price point please.


RE: uh, what?
By Master Kenobi (blog) on 2/11/2008 12:49:23 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
However consumers this time around are a lot more informed than before with open access to information which is precisely why the format war is indeed holding back mass adoption.

Everyone I have talked to has stated price as the reason they aren't buying into it. Most of them want to buy into Blu-Ray but they arent willing to shell out the cash when they state that "Upscaled DVD's are good enough".

quote:
Player prices will continue to go down as will the media. You don't have to look too far into the past to recall when people said the same thing about CDs and then DVDs and now this.

Yes, and it was quite a few years after introduction before CD's and DVD's were adopted on any mass scale.

quote:
Are you one of those who bought that $3000 dvd-burner or the $1500 dvd player? Get over the price point please.

No, I would never pay such an amount for those things. My first DVD-Burner was $150 and my first DVD player was about $110.


RE: uh, what?
By Chaser on 2/11/2008 1:11:12 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Everyone I have talked to has stated price as the reason they aren't buying into it. Most of them want to buy into Blu-Ray but they arent willing to shell out the cash when they state that "Upscaled DVD's are good enough".


And that's just more HD DVD PR speak too. "Our players make great upscalers"? But most consumers don't even care or know about "upscaling". They will want their High def player and the guy at Best Buy won't have to spend an extra 30 minutes explaining the two formats.

Now thats a win that everyone should appreciate.


RE: uh, what?
By leexgx on 2/11/2008 1:26:08 PM , Rating: 2
up scaling on PS3 is off untill you turn it on (green button/options when playing an movie and goto AV+ and set it to Full) theres only so mouch you can do with an DVD when upscaling


RE: uh, what?
By sweetsauce on 2/11/2008 1:31:00 PM , Rating: 5
Now you guys are just being dumb. I buy a HD-DVD player because its CHEAP.

So far im not confused.

A movie comes out, but damn its only available in DVD or Blu, so i say to myself "screw it im not buying a dvd, and blu is do damn expensive that i won't be buying that player for a while, so i guess i just won't buy anything."

Still not confused.

More and more titles continue to come out on Blu only because the studios decided that me having content on my HD-DVD player is bad for me.

Still not confused.

At first i didn't mind so much since my player only cost me $100, but now im starting to resent those Blu guys for getting all the sweet movies that are coming out.

Still not confused, but i am getting pissed off if that counts.

Damn those HD-DVD PR guys!!!!!!!


RE: uh, what?
By Spuke on 2/12/2008 12:50:48 AM , Rating: 2
Even though Netflix bailed on me, I'm not pissed. I needed a DVD player anyways since mine broke and that $100 HD DVD deal was excellent timing. I have a HD DVR too and most of my HD content comes from there. I haven't bought not one HD DVD movie (the only one's I have are the free one's) although I was considering re-buying the Matrix series. Now that everyone is jumping ship, I won't be buying ANY HD movies in either format until the BR spec is ironed out AND the players get down to $100.


RE: uh, what?
By 777 on 2/11/2008 10:50:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

I don't know whose kool-aid you've been downing to think that. That's what the HD-DVD group would want everyone to believe and they've successfully fooled some, evidently, into thinking two competing incompatible formats is in the best interest of consumers.

However consumers this time around are a lot more informed than before with open access to information which is precisely why the format war is indeed holding back mass adoption.

Player prices will continue to go down as will the media. You don't have to look too far into the past to recall when people said the same thing about CDs and then DVDs and now this.

Are you one of those who bought that $3000 dvd-burner or the $1500 dvd player? Get over the price point please.


Amen! I couldn't agree more!!!


RE: uh, what?
By 777 on 2/11/2008 10:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
More than likely the price of entry and price of movies is what is holding consumers back. "Format War" is not holding people back.


Sorry to disagree, but this is plain wrong, two formats IS holding people back. Everyone I know has waited this out as they do not want to waste money on a format this isn't going to be around for 10yrs. DVD has now been around just over 10yrs, when it started as no seems to remember we had DIVX, this format didn't fly for various reasons, when there was one clear format consumers jumped in by the masses and prices went down due to mass production and competition for one format, not confusion over which format do I choose.

I will never say Blu-ray is necessarily the better format but both consumer and content makers/distributors are favoring Blu. Two formats is not helping the consumer in anyway and I said this before this is not like gaming consoles. There needs to be one format and the companies selling and distributing the product know this.


RE: uh, what?
By AlphaVirus on 2/11/2008 11:41:42 AM , Rating: 2
Its not marketing speak, its more of a professional demeaner. Would you like a company executive to say

quote:
"We are telling (communicated) you that it looks much better (richness) and you will enjoy it better (experience)."


That would not be a very appropriate way to say it. And I can agree with him, having multiple sides of the HD war is confusing the general public. To us (geeks/nerds/enthusiast) who know differences we can make a solid choice based on preference but the general public usually just follows suit like the ducks.

HD-DVD to most people is probably just like an upgrade to DVD but BluRay sounds like a NEW format/technology. Of course they (general public) all know that NEW is better. I am pro BluRay so I am loving this publicity, it helps the public know whats going on.


RE: uh, what?
By ElFenix on 2/11/2008 2:48:53 PM , Rating: 2
it's complete marketing BS is what it is. a format war is not keeping people from knowing that HD provides a better picture.

the whole statement is BS, from concept to diction. the format war isn't doing any such thing. it may be slowing adoption of HD capable players, but it isn't keeping people from knowing how much better HD can be.

you're not agreeing with him, you're coming up with a separate statement.


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