Video rental giant Blockbuster recently announced plans to expand its high-def offerings by mid-July, and will rent high-definition DVDs only in the Blu-ray format in 1,450 stores, dealing a major blow to Toshiba-backed rival HD DVD format.
Blockbuster started renting both Blu-ray and HD DVD titles in 250 stores since late last year, and found that 70 percent of the time people favored Blu-ray to HD DVD. The greater availability of exclusive titles such as "Casino Royale", "Pirates of the Caribbean" and "Spider-Man" for Blu-ray as well as the launch of the PlayStation 3, which can also play Blu-ray movies, helped the format lead movie sales in 2007. The North American HD DVD Promotional Group accused Blockbuster of being short-sighted in its decision:
"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, the promotional group’s co-president."
The HD-DVD disc format will still be available via Blockbuster’s website and through the original 250 pilot stores for high-definition movies which are already offering them.