Print 107 comment(s) - last by SavagePotato.. on Feb 13 at 3:15 PM

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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Netflix Should Drop Both
By aju on 2/11/2008 12:51:02 PM , Rating: 2
Netfilx should drop both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. They should pump more resources into providing HD content online. They already provide unlimited hours of movie and TV shows (7000 choices) online for viewing on your PC and they are getting ready to release a set top box so you don’t even need a PC. Most people willing to drop all that cash on a Blu-Ray setup would be better off getting a HTPC setup or buying the new set top box. Why spend all that money on media, postage and envelopes when you can just stream it? Then it would not matter what political games the studios play, you could have our HD anyway.

I am sure someone will complain that that would take too long to stream HD content, but that is a moot point because you have to wait a few days to get it via the mail so what’s the big difference? Microsoft already has HD content on Xbox Live, so it can be done. The worst case would be you might have to let it buffer for a bit, but even if you had to wait a day our two for it to download, it would still be faster than snail mail.

The cool part is that it would screw the hardware manufactures who force the consumer into buying unnecessary hardware because they are too greedy to agree upon a common format. For instance, if Blu-Ray wins, all the current owners of HD-DVD players will get screwed and they will be forced to by Blu-Ray which costs more and provides less features and no online content. Sure it may do so in the future, but current Blu-Ray stand alone player owners will be screwed as they have no hardware to hook up to the internet with.

I say Netflix should tell them both to %&*# off. Do not buy either and get your HD content online.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By Chaser on 2/11/2008 1:13:43 PM , Rating: 2
Netflix is responding to demand. It's profitable for them.

Neflix is lucky to not have you running their company.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By sweetsauce on 2/11/2008 1:44:43 PM , Rating: 2
For once i agree with you, they are responding to demand, but not in the way you think.
The company is partnering with LG Electronics to develop a set-top box that will allow you to stream movies from the internet straight to your television -- look for it in the second half of this year
Im sure they really care about how blu and hd-dvd are going to do.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By TerranMagistrate on 2/11/2008 8:18:44 PM , Rating: 2
Im sure they really care about how blu and hd-dvd are going to do.

As Netflix has proven today, yes they definitely do care hence their decision. Physical media for movies will continue to lead for quite a long time. Until we all start getting T1 connections to DL those 24GB+ movies.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By darkpaw on 2/11/2008 10:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
I'd hate to download 24gb on a T1, pretty much any DSL and Cable is faster then that except for the cheapest options.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By bighairycamel on 2/11/2008 2:14:08 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, have you SEEN the movie selection for online viewing? 7000 choices... of suck. Most of the stuff is B movies or 5-15 year old movies. The TV show selection is OK, but the movie selection needs improvement. It's not even worth mentioning until they start adding new releases, with which I'm not sure how licensing works.

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By Oregonian2 on 2/11/2008 2:37:36 PM , Rating: 2
Actually that's the kind of stuff I get from netflix every week. Or even older movies (esp stuff from the late 60's and 70's). Newer stuff I can just see on DirecTV (where we've all the movie channels, many now in HD).

RE: Netflix Should Drop Both
By nemrod on 2/11/2008 2:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
Netfilx should drop both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. They should pump more resources into providing HD content online.

Everybody has a fast internet connexion?

By TerranMagistrate on 2/11/2008 8:26:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's the unfortunate part for all the Blu-Ray haters: most people don't.

Full mainstream popularity for HD downloading on demand is not going to be a reality for a long time. With the way ISPs are charging more for bandwidth and such, this scenario has plenty in common with the HD-DVD format and none of it good.

"When an individual makes a copy of a song for himself, I suppose we can say he stole a song." -- Sony BMG attorney Jennifer Pariser

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