Blockbuster Sides With Sony Blu-Ray

Blockbuster has announced its decision to exclusively rent Sony Blu-Ray DVDs, much to the dismay of HD DVD owners. According to the AP, the decision comes following a test of both formats at 250 stores. Blockbuster found that consumers were choosing Blu-ray over 70% 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 Associated Press.

The North American HD DVD Promotional Group responded: “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.

Is this the final blow for HD DVD? Wait, does anyone still rent at Blockbuster? —MEGHANN MARCO

AP: Blockbuster to Favor Blu-Ray HD Disc [AP] (Thanks, Phil!)
(Photo: medalian1)

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  1. catskyfire says:

    Yes, people do still rent at Blockbuster. And don’t forget the whole Blockbuster Online aspect (with in-store coupons and such).

  2. dbeahn says:

    So a dying business is going to exclusively carry a dying format? Makes sense. BluRot is also going to cause issues: [www.cdfreaks.com]

  3. My guess- someone rented 7 bluray discs at one store, while three other people rented individual hd-dvd discs at other locations.

  4. Fuzz says:

    Ughh. . I don’t understand how with 2 formats that provide essentially the same quality the expensive one is winning. And there are actually fanboys out there cheer-leading for the more expensive product!

    What is wrong with people?

  5. agent2600 says:

    Wow…Blockbuster continues to dig there own grave deeper. Blu-Ray is never going to last, it is to expensive to produce (it requires factories to buy a new press machine from sony, were as HD-DVD works with standard DVD presses). Remember Beta and VHS, the format that is cheaper always wins…and well…blu-ray….enough said. The only reason blu-ray is more popular at there test stores is MAYBE from ps3 usage…but in the end, when they are both actually affordable to the mass market, HD-DVD will surely win.

  6. bnet41 says:

    @Fuzz:
    It seems like all the good movies are coming out only on Blu-Ray. I know that has some to do with Sony pictures owning a lot of big studios I’m sure.

    It seems like the last 4 or 5 new movies I’ve wanted have been on Blu-Ray only.

  7. Wormfather says:

    …and off to digg.

  8. HeySuburbia says:

    For as hard as Blockbuster is trying to keep / gain more customers these days you’d think they’d carry both Blu-Ray and HD DVD.

    @ catskyfire
    Plus, they’re still going to continue to rent HD DVD movies at 250 stores (about 17% of stores) AND online, so it’s not like they’re dropping HD DVD altogether.

  9. Skiffer says:

    I just joined Blockbuster Online a month ago solely to rent HD-DVDs…time to cancel…

    It definitely is too soon to call a winner – it’s still in the realm of “you can make the statistics say anything.” For example:

    Blu-ray player sales are supposedly beating HD-DVD player sales…because Blu-ray is counting all the PS3 sales. But guess what, the PS3 crowd isn’t buying movies…they’re playing games – which is why HD-DVD has a higher “discs sold per player sold” ratio.

  10. ca_little says:

    This just doesn’t make sense. Blockbuster is in the business of renting movies – so why not stock both HD-DVD and BluRay discs? It’s not like you need to choose which version of a movie to stock, since the production houses are not producing movies in both formats (at least not to my knowledge) what’s the big deal??

  11. Techguy1138 says:

    This really males total sense. The content contest is very new. Why spend dwindling corporate dollars on supporting a format war?

    They picked a side and are going with it. By doing this they will be able to have a bigger depth of HD video titles and have more copies for the people that want to rent them.

    More places need to stick a flag in the ground and pick a side so this silly format competition can draw to an end.

    Consisdering I have yet to get ONE single copy of a blueray movie from my netflicks queue, I might wind up braking out the old blockbuster card.

  12. Canadian Impostor says:

    Sony is part of the Blu-ray Consortium, but saying “Sony Blu-ray” is about as correct as saying “Sony DVD”.

  13. Secularsage says:

    I have a feeling the biggest reason Blu-Ray is successful is because it’s included with the Playstation 3. People have the systems, they want to put them to use since they’ve got few games to play, and they don’t want to buy an HD-DVD player.

    I called this one a year and a half ago when the format war was just beginning to take shape.

  14. ptkdude says:

    I couldn’t care less about the HD-DVD/BluRay “war”, but I will second the “who rents at Blockbuster anymore?” The only Blockbuster near me is about 10 miles away, and it is closing. CLOSING! There isn’t another video rental store anywhere nearby, and I live in a heavily populated (and growing) suburb of Atlanta. I guess they just can’t compete with NO ONE!

  15. Starfury says:

    Lets see…should I buy Blu-Ray or HD-DVD?

    How about: Neither!!!

    My “old” DVD player works fine on my non-HD 32″ Tosiba tube TV and I’m able to buy movies for it at fairly low prices. I don’t have or plan to build a home theater and I’ll even watch movies on my computer at times. Until there is one format and it’s price compatible with what I have now I won’t be buying. I’ve got other things I’d rather spend my money on.

  16. mac-phisto says:

    @Jason: uhhh….except that sony developed blu-ray. so, to say sony blu-ray is in fact as correct as saying toshiba dvd. sure, the consortium now supports the format, but the consortium was created at the behest of sony.

    regardless, i still don’t care a whit about either.

  17. r81984 says:

    @agent2600:
    I agree.

    Blu-ray is only selling a little more because of PS3’s and that is it. Besides the dumbasses that got ripped off with the PS3, no one else really buys next gen dvds, but when HD-DVD has $100 players and Bluray has over $400 players, the winner will be clear.

    This almost seems a death blow to Blockbuster because HD-DVDs are cheaper to produce so if they buy the same DVDs in bulk in blu ray instead of HD-DVD then they are wasting money.

    Anyone who supports sony is just killing themselves.

    Bye Bye Blockbuster!!

  18. oldhat says:

    Blockbuster sucks. Owned by religious fanatics, they only carry what they want, nothing edgy.

    If the only dvds you watch are from Blockbuster, you watch shitty dvds.

    Netflix has much better selection.

    And for the record, I’m perfectly happy with my crappy old SD tv and its terrible low resolution that I’ve been happy with for 10 years. I watch stuff on youtube, and ipod! Stupid HD junkies make me laugh. (video games are a different story tho…)

  19. TechnoDestructo says:

    Quote from a college radio DJ about 10 years ago: “Lackluster video…tens of thousands of movies, but they’re all copies of ‘Men in Black.'”

  20. Kaien says:

    I rather see this format war end soon. Pick one or the other, doesn’t matter. I would prefer blu-ray simply for the fact of more storage, but who knows when that’ll be pratical.
    Anyway, I don’t see why this matters, there are still choices out there besides blockbuster.

    As for making a choice so soon, it seems more likely that blu-ray will win, so why not just add the win into stone so it becomes standard and drops in price?

  21. Imhotep says:

    I agree with Oldhat… Blockbuster is a non-issue for any true movie-lover, not to mention cinephiles. They edit and censor movies that don’t meet their religious standards. (of course this goes for the MPAA and pretty much any Region 1, US/Canada DVD.)

    It is way too early to decide on a “winning” format, but I think the real tell-tale sign will be what Netflix adopts. They’ll follow the market’s needs, not the studios.(we hope)

  22. shdwsclan says:

    Yeah…lackluster sucks…..
    Im a member, i carry a card….dont know why….
    The last time i rented there was a vhs tape in 1998 and C&C for PS1. Ive never been there ever since, even though its within walking distance of my house….

    Payperview….yeah i do that sometimes…..
    I do own a FEW dvds, i have more stuff on divx since im very cautious about buying shitty movies from sony, now why would i want to buy shitty movies from sony on their shitty format.
    Bascally, if they carry blu-ray movies, then they dont carry the movies that dont come out on blu-ray…e.g….movies not made by the sony motion picture monopoly…..they should just rename the mpaa to sony, since %90 of movie companies in hollywood are owned by sony…..
    ….and from what i hear….they are buying out other companies in the world.

    They are showing that they can match hd dvd by lowering prices to $7 a piece to match hd dvd, and they are lowering the price on the writers/players to match hd dvd.

    I wonder how long they can hold out.
    Sony has been a loss leader since PS3 and it didnt take off that well.
    Sony has to beat the pricing completely. They have to basically offer bd-rs at cost….which is like $.05.
    Also, for those that dont know how cds are made, bdrs/hddvdr can be made on the same equiment as dvds since many of the lbrs already support that kind of recording width….

    If i see a 50 pack of single layer bdrs for 29.99 and a drive for $100-200[that supports multiple layers] then i will tip my hat to you, sony.
    At that instant, you will have won the format wars, definetely.

  23. DrHow says:

    The article says, “According to the AP, the decision comes following a test of both formats at 250 stores. Blockbuster found that consumers were choosing Blu-ray over 70% of the time.” But that fact hardly justifies the decision. They seem to be OK with running off 30% of their potential business in HD rentals. Unless a customer has one of the relatively rare players that can play both formats, the “decision” referred to is not subject to reconsideration. The customers seeking HD-DVD must just go elsewhere to get their HD movies. This does not sound like a good business decision unless Blockbuster (or certain officers there) also received from Sony some very persuasive inducements that we do not know about.

  24. mac-phisto says:

    @shdwsclan: haha! are you serious? i’ve yet to see a 50-pack of sony cd-rs at that price point.

    methinks you won’t be tipping hat anytime soon.

  25. agent2600 says:

    @bnet41


    all the good movies are coming out on bluray? like what? Ultra Violet? bluray movies are the stupid sony action movies that just plain suck, the only real good movies are still just coming out to play-old DVD because no one wants to waste the money to re-encode them to HD format. In the end Microsoft will the the correct one, Online downloads is the wave of the future, With large solid-state storage, no a new optical format will ever compete with instant internet gratification.

    anyone else here try streaming movies off netflix the slection as of right now is slim, but its a GREAT feature…now if it would only work on my mac laptop so i can hook it to my TV….

  26. Techguy1138 says:

    Well given that Sony still supports and releases movies on UMD format. I suppose Sony can support it’s format for around another 10 years.

    So you can watch all the Columbia, Sony, and MGM movies you want on DVD. But if you want HD on TV and %50 of the movies that exist and wil be made you will need blue ray. Those numbers hold if everyone else jumps ship.

    Blueray is around to stay for a long time because Sony supports those who adopt formats it supports.
    In ten years even if HD-DVD wins I know I can still uy blueray movies

  27. Techguy1138 says:

    Agent2600

    I can tell you think that downloading movies is instant only because you lack the capacity to do so.

    When everyone has FIOS to their doors and the entire internet backbone is restructured maybe it can be kinda instant.

    It certainaly won’t be in reasonable HD format since a hd movie even highly comressed should be around 4gb. In better than DVD quality it will be around 10gb. That kind of data takes a long time to copy over 1000Bt much less 10bt cable modems.

    I’m sure everyone will be downloading “high quality” online movies in minutes directly to their 100 mpg flying cars no later than the year 2015.

  28. mathew says:

    If it was up to Blockbuster, we would never have had DVDs. They had to be dragged kicking and screaming into stocking those. That’s how Netflix got such a big chunk of the market. I know I gave up on Blockbuster because of their poor DVD support.

  29. d0x says:

    I have a HD-DVD drive and love it. The picture quality on average is better then Blu-Ray and at worst its the same. Prices are lower as well and it doesnt have that extra layer of DRM that I despise.

    Until HD-DVD is dead I will continue to support it and then I still may never buy a Blu-Ray device since I have many options of getting HD content on the net such as via my Xbox 360, Amazon, and if itunes gets off their ass’s them as well.

  30. Teapotfox says:

    BB Total Access (BBV’s subscription service) actually has some big advantages over Netflix AND now has the same size library that Netflix boasts. Any brick-and-mortar rental store has to carry a selection of titles with broad appeal, and it doesn’t have infinite space to hold every copy of every movie anyone might conceivably want… it is a business and has to consider profitability. Yes, cinephiles, this does mean that your local BBV probably won’t have a Kieslowski section, but will have 100+ copies of Norbit. However, BB Total Access allows for a much more diverse selection.

    I will also note that BBV even has a better selection at its brick-and-mortar stores than any competing rental chains have ever offered. (Exception–they don’t carry porn.)

    As for editing of movies, BBV does not actually edit any of the movies they carry. There are lots of unrated movies at my local store, including a slew of unrated foreign films, many of which would almost certainly qualify as NC-17 here. They do negotiate with studios to carry rated versions of big domestic hits, as well–which are, incidentally, the versions you would see in the theatre. More often than not, though, the unrated versions are the only ones the store receives… that doesn’t sound like prudery or censorship to me.

  31. milty45654 says:

    HAHAHAHA. They side with a format that hasn’t even been determined if it will survive. They are trying to stay afloat themselves competing with Netflix(the better rental choice). They must have been paid very well from Sony. Let’s send em out of business in fashion…boycott blockbuster.

  32. synergy says:

    I haven’t rented anything at Blockbuster ever since I rented some movies one night and the bill came out to what I now pay for one month of about 12 or 13 DVDs per month from Netflix. Plus, their selection SUCKS.

    Wasn’t Netflix trying to take legal action against BBV for stealing their business model?

  33. agent2600 says:

    @Techguy1138

    Techguy in the 80 and 90s if you remember Beta, Laserdisc, or the original victor in the VCD vs DVD war in asia (that being VCDs). Consumers do not care about quality as much as you think. Most people will not have HDTV still in 10 years, so what ever is cheaper, and more convenient, (aka online downloads) will probably be more successful. You probably haven’t used netflix’s watch now option, which is at VCD quality (good enough for your average consumer to be satisfied with it). Im not clairvoyant but thats just my guess.

    as for your comment about sony backing blue ray and it lasting 10 years….once again, do you remember sony’s beta max….and how they backed that? I do, and well, to sum up the story, sony started publishing VHS tapes. Sony is notorious for dropping proprietary formats that they sink a lot money into (what ever happened to the “super audio CD revolution?”

  34. agent2600 says:

    i forgot to add, I work at a best buy, and while we don’t sell much of either, we sell by far more Xbox 360s and HD-DVDs to go with them.

  35. Athenor says:

    I’m hearing rumblings about Sony paying Blockbuster for exclusivity. I don’t want to post anything definitive without backup or evidence, so this post is going to come off as trollish and in bad taste… But I just want to see people put out feelers on this information. The number I’ve heard is 500 million for the deal.

  36. I haven’t rented a movie from Blockbuster since 1999.

    @Athenor: And I heard the same thing about Microsoft paying off Capcom for some titles that Sony’s PS3 lost. Internet “Trolls” and fanboys put out all kinds of false information to bad-mouth the companies they don’t like. Don’t belive me? Do a google search for “Sony copied nintendo with motion detection”, yet we all know Sony had that idea since 1999. Likewise, there’s always the occassional, yet rare, Wii and 360 bashing. Likewise, We now have Wii60 fanboys going at every junction to put down Sony.

    False information is progated every day. The point is to see through the bullshit and keep your ears to the ground. As they say, “Believe Half of What you see and Nothing of What You Hear”. When something comes from the mouth of someone that sounds even remotely fanboyish, don’t believe it.

    @agent2600: But if you sell HD-DVD’s and 360’s? What do the people do when they get home and attempt to play them? After all, the “Elite” 360 SKU does not come with an HD-DVD drive built-in. It just comes with an HDMI output and a 120GB for an overpriced $180 smack-a-roo’s. I could easily get a IDE 120GB HDD at 7200 RPM for about $60… I could elaborate even further, but I don’t want to turn this into a 360 bashing.

    On a side-note, after reading through the comments posted here, It is in my opinion that the Consumerist should do a report on falsified information by companies claiming to distribute HD Content over the web. A video encoded at 1.3MBPS, even if it is encoded with the H.264 Codec, is NOT HDTV. A decent quality VCD has a better bit-rate than that. A Standard defintion (480i) DVD is usually at about 5-8 MBPS. A 1080i HDTV video has a bit-rate of about 18.2mbps.

    @Jason: Tell that to a fan-boy…

    @Secularsage: Regular kismet…

  37. agent2600 says:

    Papa midnight, I was just posting what I see happening

    you know what the TOP seller is though?

    regular DVDs…haha, I think they are going to be around for quite awhile longer.