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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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By Rhodenator on 2/12/2008 3:00:42 PM , Rating: 2
I was signed up with BlockBuster Online since about the time they first created the service. I loved it, I was paying less then $20/month for 3 movies at a time (plus being able to return them locally when that became available).

Back on Wal-Marts Secret Black Friday (or was that Thursday) deal, I went ahead and purchased an HD-DVD player for $100 with 7 movies (great deal to me).

I get home and notice BlockBuster doesn't carry ANY HD-DVD movies and only Blu-ray, so I switch over to NetFlix. Just within in the last month we've been getting horrible service (Movies come in one at a time per week), but I noticed they were HD-DVD's...

Now after reading this article, I realize that I wish I was with BlockBuster again. Not only were they fast, but they were actually cheaper. Unfortunately I can't come back to BlockBuster for the same price, so who knows now...

I just hate NetFlix's decision, I'm probably the rare one, but I don't want to buy a Blu-Ray player until they are down to $100 - $150, and since that won't happen for a while (IMHO) because of the HD-DVD format loss (losing/whatever), I feel screwed. Back to watching DVD's until I shell out tons of cash for a player.. I don't mind spending $300 - $400 on a player, but it better be a top-notch one and we're too early in the game to see (with competition).

enough of my rant, I-H8-U-NetFlix.com




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