Maybe the Blockbuster animals are discussing high-def formats too
HD DVD dealt a major blow with Blockbuster brush-off

Few corporations have the sort of influence on the movie industry that that Blockbuster Inc. has, and the rental juggernaut is about to exert its influence on the high-definition format war. Blockbuster will be taking sides with its announcement that it plans to rent only Blu-ray Disc movies in 1,450 stores next month, according to the Associated Press.

This news comes as a significant blow to HD DVD, which is currently fighting against Blu-ray Disc for market dominance. Blockbuster has been renting both high-definition formats in more than 250 stores in the U.S. and Canada since late last year, and claims that its consumers were choosing Blu-ray movies more than 70 percent of the time.

"The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing," Matthew Smith, senior vice president of merchandising at Blockbuster, told the AP.

Blu-ray Disc has been ahead of HD DVD title sales since the beginning of 2007, though that some attribute that not to one format being more popular than the other, but rather more new titles have shipped for Blu-ray Disc this year. The greater availability of titles for Blu-ray contributed to Blockbuster’s decision to pick only one next-generation format.

"When you walk into a store and see all this product available in Blu-ray and there is less available on HD DVD, I think the consumer gets that," added Smith.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group viewed Blockbuster’s move as short-sighted and skewed by the early success that Blu-ray enjoyed thanks to its stronger release schedule.

"I think trying to make a format decision using such a short time period is really not measuring what the consumer is saying," said Ken Graffeo, co-president of the group.

Blockbuster said that it will continue to rent HD DVD titles at its original 250 pilot stores for high-definition movies, though it is unclear if it will continue to carry new releases or rent out its existing inventory.

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