Blockbuster Chooses Blu-ray in a Big Way

As the high-definition format war continues to rage on, both sides are looking for any advantage they can get to tip the market in their favour. Although HD-DVD hit stores first, and still boasts a lower price point for their players, Blu-ray has roared back with some very high profile movie releases and the help of the Playstation 3 install base. As time goes on, it’s looking more and more like Blu-ray has the edge. Sales figures seem to indicate that they are selling better, and their displays seem to be much more prominent in major retail stores. Now Blockbuster has just made a major announcement that could seal the fate of HD-DVD forever.

Various sources around the web are reporting that Blockbuster will be exclusively stocking Blu-ray titles in the vast majority of their stores — approximately 1700 outlets. HD-DVD, meanwhile, will only be available in a select 250 stores, and via their online service. Blockbuster is the biggest rental chain in North America, so I think we have to assume this is going to have a major impact on the format war. I don’t know that anything short of major support from Wal-Mart could turn the tide this much. Personally I’ve been sticking with HD-DVD so far, and of course I’m both surprised and annoyed at the way things are turning out. I don’t see why more people would be buying or renting Blu-ray over HD-DVD… as far as I know, the Playstation 3 has not been selling all that well so I don’t think it is a major factor here. I think HD-DVD really dropped the ball in terms of bringing out big titles that would sway consumers one way or another. With the BDP-S300 $499 Blu-ray player hitting stores this month, is anyone else out there about ready to jump on board the Blu-ray bandwagon?

  • Aaron


    Don’t just take my word for fact, I could be wrong about who owns who so please research for yourself too.

    Blockbuster is owned by Viacom.
    Blu-ray Disc was first developed by Sony.
    Sony is owned by Viacom.

    Do you see the connections?

    There is a ‘war’ going on between Blu-Ray Disc and HD DVD. The ‘winner’ of this war will most likely be the media that ends up in more consumers homes, in other words, the one that makes more money and appears to be more prominent. Corporations exist to make money for their shareholders. So Sony would logically want their disc (Blu-Ray) to succeed. One way to help that happen is to make Blu-Ray seem to be everywhere to consumers. Blockbuster, by putting blu-ray in more stores, helps that happen. Except…

    After five minutes of poking around on Wikipedia (which I don’t 100% trust to be accurate, but that’s another matter) it seems like I’m right, but please check and don’t just take my word for it.

    Except… after writing all that out I go back to my little wikipedia search and see that, according to wikipedia, Blockbuster separated from Viacom in 2004… which pretty much debunks this whole argument.

    In any case… I probably won’t be buying anything Blu-Ray or HD DVD for several years to come. My DVD collection is large and I’m not about to go replace it anytime soon because then I’d have to get the player and a new tv and the list goes on. To me, it seems like a lot of unneeded spending but I suppose time will tell.

  • Didnt porn choose HDDVD? does blockbuster actually outdo porn?

  • This ‘war’ is about greed and stupidity, and I’m not putting money into it any time soon. I’m perfectly happy with my standard DVD’s. This Blockbuster move could be big, although at a certain point stores of any kind are going to run out of shelf space and have to pick one to go with.

    Oh, and how’s this for a conspiracy theory after reading around the ‘net: Microsoft is backing HD-DVD and even taking losses to keep the format war going to confuse the public and cause the whole next gen DVD to fail so that they can then offer the ‘easy’ solution to the masses of online downloads – of which they can control without selling hard copies of any physical media. Crazy enough it might work or aluminum foil hat territory?

  • Just a couple of quick thoughts;

    1) “I don’t know that anything short of major support from Wal-Mart could turn the tide this much. ” It’s already happened sir. Wal-Mart has said it loud and proud that they’re backing HD-DVD. That puts everything up in the air in my books.

    2) It’s silly for any company to pick sides so early. They’re basing this on test market info at a time when the majority of HD viewers (who in turn are the vast minority of movie watchers still) own blu-ray simply because it was bundled with the PS3. Making any decisions before these formats start showing up in regular homes on a regular basis is just silly.

    3) Murphy’s law, folks. Murphy’s law. Tonight I pick up my uniform at Blockbuster and I go for orientation tomorrow. 10 free rentals a week and I’m getting screwed out of HD-DVD literally from day one. You never know, Blockbuster Canada may have not reached a decision yet. Here’s to hoping. ;)

  • Aaron: I’m not sure that Blockbuster is caught up in that vast web of connections out there, but there are certainly a different group of companies supporting each format and pushing their own agenda.

    Goon: I don’t think porn necessarily chose HD-DVD, it’s just that Blu-ray initially wouldn’t allow adult films on their format. They quickly changed their mind though.

    Eaglewing: I doubt that Microsoft would be supporting a format that they ultimately want to fail, but you bring up a good point about the next gen being digital downloads. Of course, will it be HD-DVD downloads or Blu-ray downloads? There are still differences in the encoding and whatnot, even if the discs themselves are moot.

    Jim: I heard that Wal-Mart was heavily supporting HD-DVD too, but if they are it’s certainly not an exclusive thing. And a lot of people report most Wal-Mart stores having bigger displays and more selection of Blu-ray than HD-DVD. Good luck with the new job… hey this is your chance to mess with the system from the inside!

  • You’re absolutely right about the displays at Wal-Mart. If you check out the Bunting & Welland store in town, you’ll find that there’s an end cap with three rows of blu-ray on top, one row of UMD, and then a tiny little row of hd-dvd at the bottom. Still — it’s nice to know their policy is pro-HD-DVD. :)

  • Mike

    why would you want HD porn…yuck.

    i’ll stick to good ol Barbara Walters Soft focus