Blockbuster US chooses Blu-ray rentals

Blockbuster is to offer high definition DVDs in the Blu-ray format only at 1450 of its American rental stores, the BBC is reporting.

Blockbuster have said the decision is down to two key reasons - customer preference and poor selection of films on HD DVD.

Blu-ray format films are available from almost all the major studios, Universal is the the only studio that supports HD DVD alone. The limited choice of titles in the HD DVD format was a factor in focusing on Blu-ray, Blockbuster said.

Blockbuster said that in the 250 stores where both Blu-ray and HD DVD high-definition DVDs were available, customers have been choosing the Blu-Ray format over HD DVD.

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

The decision is a blow for the rival HD DVD format, which is seen as the struggling party in the high-definition format war.

"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 HD DVD Group.

Blockbuster will still offer HD DVD rentals at 250 of its stores.


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