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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: another blow.....
By BansheeX on 2/12/2008 11:15:27 AM , Rating: 1
Right NOW i have to shell out over $300 for a player that doesn't do anything my current $100 HD-DVD player can do.

$100 players is the REASON Toshiba had no manufacturer support. No business wanted to follow their kamikaze sales model. So you can't have your cake and eat it, too. If you want better industry support, you have to raise prices and get friends. If you want to try and firesell your competitor into oblivion, you have to forsake industry support.

Blu-ray is no more expensive than DVD when it was new, you're simply perceiving it as expensive in comparison to an inferior competitor that was cheaper to make, something DVD never had. And now that you've wasted hundreds of dollars on the losing format, you complain about expense? You'll end up paying the same overall in the end. I got my blu-ray player for $300, and when you get yours in two years, you'll have paid $150 for HD-DVD and $150 for Blu-ray. So you espouse savings, but you're actually quite short-sighted with money because you picked a rogue format with crap recordable capacity and lossy audio.

Is there any reason why the spec isn't completed now? I can think of only one, to get you to purchase another player in the future.

That conspiracy theory makes no sense because 2.0 makes ethernet manadatory. Ethernet, of course, is the conduit through which firmware can be updated.

That part was a joke, since i don't really care who makes what. I care that i own HD-DVD and theres nothing to watch on it.

Then why did you buy it in the first place? Brilliant consumer here, folks.

"I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For [Paramount] to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks!" -- Movie Director Michael Bay

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