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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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RE: Blu ray won!
By zaki on 2/11/2008 3:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
haha, keep dreaming,

price? "as we all have heard" wow thats a pretty stupid statement, I havent heard anybody say definitively that price is going to settle the war. hasnt hd-dvd been cheaper than blu-ray all this time? so why hasnt hd-dvd already become the choice of "everybody" who has heard of this statement?

I think the hd-dvd camp is just being stubborn, the sooner they switch the better it will be for everybody,
hell everyone would make more money if there was only one format
and hd-dvd sales are not as hot has toshiba and the rest would hope.

RE: Blu ray won!
By sweetsauce on 2/11/2008 4:00:47 PM , Rating: 2
Its called content. Why is that so hard for people to understand? If the studios went in reverse and most of the content was available exclusively on HD-DVD, blu would be dead long ago. That is a FACT.

RE: Blu ray won!
By TerranMagistrate on 2/11/2008 8:33:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's also called marketing and risk-taking of which Toshiba and their partner Microsoft (Xbox 360) did little. Too bad.

RE: Blu ray won!
By samadhifc on 2/11/2008 9:17:59 PM , Rating: 2
...and I'd be perfectly fine with that because I would still have a dedicated HD video game system (PS3) and wouldn't be whining about picking up an inexpensive stand-alone player for my movies.

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