Netflix To Drop HD DVD, Best Buy To Push Blu-ray, HD DVD To Weep Quietly

HD DVD got two heaping scoops of bad news today. One wonders how long Toshiba and the rest of the HD DVD camp will maintain their “Everything going remarkably well!” delusional stance. Hey, HD DVD, to quote: “No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.” How many times do you need to be clubbed on the head before you get on the damn cart?

So, first up, Netflix announced via a press release that they’re going Blu-ray exclusive.

“The prolonged period of competition between two formats has prevented clear communication to the consumer regarding the richness of the high-def experience versus standard definition,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix. “We’re now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format, bring clarity to the consumer and accelerate the adoption of high-def. Going forward, we expect that all of the studios will publish in the Blu-ray format and that the price points of high-def DVD players will come down significantly. These factors could well lead to another decade of disc-based movie watching as the consumer’s preferred means.”

They will stop adding new HD DVD titles to their catalog, and they will be phasing out existing HD DVD titles by the end of the year. In a comment at Zatz Not Funny user lorenzp posted a link to the email he received from Netflix:

We’re Going Blu-ray

Dear Phil,

You’re receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.

While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.

Toward the end of February, HD DVDs in your Saved Queue will automatically be changed to standard definition DVDs. Then toward the end of this year, all HD DVDs in your Queue will be changed to standard definition DVDs. Don’t worry, we will contact you before this happens.

You can click to change your format preferences.

We’re osrry for any inconvenience. If you have any questions of need further assistance, please call us at 1 (888) 638-3549.

-The Netflix Team

Ironically, this seems to leave Blockbuster Online as the best option for HD DVD renters. Ironic, since last June Blockbuster went Blu-ray exclusive in their physical stores and, at the time, a lot of HD DVD fans said things like “Who cares, we’ll use Netflix!” Apparently not for much longer. Oops.

While HD DVD was still reeling from the Netflix announcement, Best Buy kicked them while they were down. While Best Buy isn’t (yet) dropping HD DVD, they will “focus on Blu-ray products“. Best Buy’s press release offers some details:

Best Buy Co., Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is taking a step forward in addressing consumer confusion about high-definition formats. Beginning in early March, the leading consumer electronics retailer will prominently showcase Blu-ray hardware and software products in its Best Buy retail and online channels in the United States.

“Consumers have told us that they want us to help lead the way. We’ve listened to our customers, and we are responding. Best Buy will recommend Blu-ray as the preferred format,” said Brian Dunn, Best Buy’s president and chief operating officer. “Our decision to shine a spotlight on Blu-ray Disc players and other Blu-ray products is a strong signal to our customers that we believe Blu-ray is the right format choice for them.”

Dunn continued, “Best Buy has always believed that the customer will benefit from a widely-accepted single format that would offer advantages such as product compatibility and expanded content choices. Because we believe that Blu-ray is fast emerging as that single format, we have decided to focus on Blu-ray products.”

“With the explosion of HDTVs, customers are hungry for quality, high definition content. We believe our move to feature Blu-ray should help consumers feel confident in their hi-def content choices,” said Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s senior vice president, Home Solutions. “Best Buy is excited by the next generation of digital products and we know our customers are too. We are excited about helping customers find the right mix of products and services to make the next generation of high definition entertainment technology come alive for them. We believe that Blu-ray is the right solution for consumers.”

Best Buy currently carries a wide array of Blu-ray hardware and software products. The company noted that it will continue to carry an assortment of HD-DVD products for customers who desire to purchase these products.

As I’ve said before, this is a feedback loop. As HD DVD players and media become harder to obtain, and Blu-ray players and media get more promotion, the market will continue to shift toward Blu-ray. And the shift in the market will lead more vendors to back Blu-ray as the favor format. And it starts all over again.

Over the next few months this shift is going to accelerate – Best Buy starts promoting Blu-ray in March and Warner stops selling HD DVD at the end of May. And HD DVD will be harder and harder to rent from Netflix as worn out discs are not replaced, and new titles are not added.

Netflix and Best Buy are clearly sending a message to the HD DVD camp to cut it out and end the war.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Chris H.

    Toshiba: “But I don’t want to go on the cart!”

    Marketplace: “Oh, don’t be such a baby.”