Blockbuster opts for Blu-ray

In a major blow to the HD DVD format, the popular rental store announces it will move to selling only Blu-ray in many outlets, cites PS3 as one of the reasons.

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International video rental giant Blockbuster has taken a step toward picking a winner in the biggest format war since VHS versus Betamax. It's announced that from next month, when the store chain is going to be expanding its high-def movie range, it will be offering only the Blu-ray next-generation DVD format across 1,450 outlets, reports Associated Press.

The company stated that the reason behind its decision was that since late last year it had been offering customers a choice of Blu-ray and HD DVD formats in some 250 stores, and found that people opted for Blu-ray more than 70 percent of the time.

Blockbuster's senior vice president of merchandising, Matthew Smith, said, "The consumers are sending us a message. I can't ignore what I'm seeing."

The Blockbuster executive said that the main factor for this was that all major studios bar one will be releasing films in Blu-ray, and that some, including Walt Disney, were opting for exclusive releases on that format. Smith said that the launch of Sony's PlayStation 3, which can also play Blu-ray movies, helped the format "gain momentum."

HD DVD movies would continue to be available in the original 250 stores which are already offering them, as well as online.

Blockbuster was founded in 1985 and is based in Dallas, Texas. The company currently has around 700 stores in the UK and over 9,000 stores in a further 23 countries worldwide. A Blockbuster UK spokesperson refused to comment as to whether the decision would be an international one or whether it was US-only.

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