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February 12, 2008

Netflix, Best Buy feeling "Blu"

Posted: 04:23 PM ET

Call it the final battle in the so-called "format wars."

Two major outlets for high-definition movies, Netflix and Best Buy have both announced they're going the way of Sony's Blu-Ray... leaving Toshiba's rival HD-DVD format to go the way of the dinosaur.


Netflix, the online movie rental service, cited the overwhelming number of studios publishing films in the Blu-Ray format as the reason for abandoning their current approach of stocking both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs. The California based Netflix says it will continue to rent HD-DVD discs to customers using what stock it has on hand, but going forward will only purchase new discs in the BD format.

Blu-Ray also enjoyed a boost from retailer Best Buy who also announced they will be going Blu, showcasing both Blu-Ray hardware and software in their retail and online stores beginning in March. Like Netflix, Best Buy will continue to offer HD-DVD products to those customers who had chosen to go with that format.

The difference here is that the retail giant, the largest electronics dealer in the U.S., is actively recommending the Blu-Ray over HD-DVD to customers.

In a statement, Mike Vitelli, Best Buy’s senior vice president, said "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," adding, "We believe that Blu-ray is the right solution for consumers.”

Need more proof that it's all but over for HD-DVD? Check the prices on HD-DVD products.

Last week, Microsoft announced it was slashing the price on it's HD-DVD player add-on for the Xbox 360 by $50 to $129.99. Visitors to today will find the price of HD-DVD's cut by 50%.

With more studios announcing their support of Blu, it would appear that HD-DVD's future is beginning to fade to black.

Read more: UPDATE: Netflix Joins Blu-ray Camp In High-def Format War

– Matt West, CNN Entertainment Producer

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PA Resident   February 12th, 2008 4:38 pm ET

What sunk HD DVD over Bluray? The PS3. As a gaming console this thing is a dud... as a Blu Ray player it's the cheapest player out there. If for no other reason I know of at least 5 people who bought one for this purpose alone.

PS3 has a built in BluRay player in each device. It's the only reason that format is going to win the HD war. If Microsoft had dropped the price at Christmas of the HD DVD attachment (which consumers didn't get by default like the PS3 gives)... then I think we'd be hearing a very different tune. Instead they kept it at $180 (or a third of the cost of a PS3... which was on alot of gamers chistmas lists).

Jeff   February 12th, 2008 4:41 pm ET

I can only hope my DIVX Player from years ago will make a comeback.

Frost   February 12th, 2008 5:03 pm ET

It's obvious that a victory is literally impossible at this point; it would be nice of Toshiba and Microsoft would just give up and let the market move to the next format instead of sticking it out to the bitter end.

I realize Microsoft wants both HD DVD and Blu-ray to die so they can push digital downloads via Microsoft products on people, but what does Toshiba have to gain from continuing the war at this point?

BCobb   February 12th, 2008 5:34 pm ET

I guess when your the big dog (Sony), you can make the movies and then tell the people what they will use to watch them. Last time, consumers made the choice between beta and vhs. Aren't we lucky to have Sony/MGM to make the choice easier for us this time.

JackfromBerkeley   February 12th, 2008 6:02 pm ET

Hooray for Blu-ray. I hooked up a Blu-ray player to my new Sony LCD and find the result indistinguishable from a cinema screen. No lines or pixels are evident.

This is all the better it needs to be for me. I could easily tell the difference between Blu-ray and regular DVD or what passes for HDTV. I expect HDTV to improve, but it doesn't need to get better than Blu-ray is right now, for me, anyway.

Sony is on a roll. Hooray for them. It's been a while.

Trent Fordham   February 12th, 2008 6:58 pm ET

Good to hear! The last thing needed is a format war, and it's too bad it's gone on this long. As a recent Blu-Ray purchaser, I really want to see things move other words, come on Universal and Paramount. Please, face the music that HD DVD is troubled, and going to lose this "war." I want my Blu-Rays!

Ed   February 12th, 2008 8:07 pm ET

Putting aside the Blu-ray vs. HD format war for a bit, I think it is important to look at what is happening to the +R vs -R DVD battle. For the life of me I cannot understand (and to date no-one has explained) why the +R Blank DVD format is being given preference over the -R Blank DVD format. I have used both in single and duel layer types and found -R to be far and away the best format for multi-player use. I have found +R will not play in MOST players whereas, -R DVD copies will play in MOST players with very few exceptions. -R format is about 5 years older than +R format and have got most of the bugs out. Future Shop. Best Buy and Staples all seem to be leaning towards carrying only the +R format in their Blank Duel Layer Discs which flys in the face of expierience. Even the staff at the above mentioned stores admit that +R Discs are not compatible with most players but cannot explain the reason for their store's purchasing policy. Can someone shed some light on this subject?

Steve S   February 12th, 2008 8:07 pm ET

This seems to be another nail-in-the-coffin for HD-DVD. I wish that Toshiba and the HD-DVD group could just throw in the towel and give Sony congrats for finally producing a media format that is going mainstream.

Pat   February 12th, 2008 8:39 pm ET

I honestly cannot believe the mass consumer has become so stupid. This is not the first time Sony has tried to shove its proprietary formats at our wallets; sony has pushed its own negligible counter brand for every gadget on the market since the 70s. The mini disc, ATRAC (as if there was a need for another mp3 alternative), toslink, the betamax, handicams, the atrocious SDDS, blu-ray... sony has fought standardization at every opportunity with negligible or inferior products.

This is part of a much larger problem...corporate exploitation of the techno-clueless. At every grocery store theres a soccer mom, feeling youthful whilst listening to her ipod, but my 3rd party player likely has dozens more features, twice the memory, and costs a third of the price(+ i am not forced to use itunes, the reigning kind of bloated programs) Cellphones with technology comparable to iphones were available four years ago, but iphone is selling off the shelves because of its uber cool touchpad. As long as its trendy, no one seems to notice (or is it care?) that there are paying more money for inferior products. To think people call Microsoft the evil empire...they need to get real.

It is tragic that these companies are making billions by infantilizing so many people with highly polished plastic and sexy tv commercials.... it should require more than gloss paint to pull money out of wallets. Proprietary media is one step behind monopoly, and i hate to see us go so willingly.

Alex   February 12th, 2008 9:20 pm ET

To be blunt I recently had an opportunity to test drive both formats and I have to say I'm not pleased with either of them. I'm particularly ticked off at the number of BR and HD-DVD releases that DON'T include all the same extras as you get with the DVD releases. For example the BR release of Resident Evil: Apocalypse for some reason omits the gag reel on the DVD version, and the other featurettes looked like garbage because they weren't remastered at all; they looked like 10th generation videotape and that was unacceptable – my standard DVD won hands down. And the picture quality of the movies I've seen so far, to be honest, either are too sharp - and give me a splitting headache - in the case of some newer films, or look inferior to the DVD for older films. No thanks, as far as I'm concerned the standard DVD is still the winner. And the fact studios are still talking about standard DVD releases well into 2009 - especially releases of TV shows to DVD - means the DVD isn't going anywhere. And as long as there isn't parity on all high-def releases in terms of offering all the same extras as DVD (I'm not talking about high-def-exclusives, which are an incentive, but these should not be in place of DVD extras) then I have little need to upgrade.

JJ   February 12th, 2008 11:35 pm ET

Whatever. Just finish this insane competition between HD formats already! I refuse to do (again) what i did during the VHS/Beta war which was buy the better system (BETA – by a mile) and then have to buy the VHS system when it won. Personally, i will be a holdout all the way to at least Feb. 2009 on all this HD stuff. If i could skip the whole thing this time round, i probably would. Put that down to consumer burnout.

David   February 13th, 2008 12:29 am ET

Great, now we get to spend $$$$$ to restock our movie libraries to play on the new format.

Hell with it. I'm not upgrading to either. 5 years down they'll come up with something else to empty our wallets.

Chad   February 13th, 2008 12:52 am ET

And this is a news worthy headline? How about an announcement that Warner Brothers is releasing HD-DVD titles 3 weeks after BluRay releases? Or that WB is going straight BluRay in July? Best Buy is going only BluRay? Last time I checked, stores like Suncoast and f.y.e. had a much larger selection of BluRay that most Best Buy stores did. But, I guess Best Buy has to do something to toot their own horn, so why not make a big deal out of this little thing they are behind on?

Jeremy   February 13th, 2008 9:09 am ET

Matt needs to do some research. I own both formats and while I'll openly admit to liking HD DVD slightly better, I care more about accurate reporting. Amazon ALWAYS has those sales. They didn't slash anything by 50%. They always have select HD DVDs and Blu-Rays for X% off, with the number varying from 30 to 50 on any given day. Also important to note is that those numbers are not a true percentage off. It's 50% off MSRP, not 50% off Amazon's regular price.

With that said I'm glad the "format wars" are nearing an end. Now everyone can jump on board and enjoy high definition video at home, but it's unfair to misreport facts about either format.

Ivan   February 13th, 2008 12:14 pm ET

I hope that HD-DVD hangs on for as long as possible. Without competition BluRay will have no incentive to keep prices low. I personally perfer BluRay, but I don't purchace disc because of the price.

Ken   February 13th, 2008 2:32 pm ET

Go to your local electronic mega-mart, Best Buy, another BR convert is a good example. Have them play a BluRay movie on a 1080p television (not 1080i). Batman Returns, or any other BluRay action flick is fine. If it isn't the nastiest most fake presentation of a movie you've ever seen then you go ahead and jump on the BluRay wagon, you deserve it.

I have yet to see a BluRay/1080p combo that didn't make me want to give up watching movies altogether. Even Cars, an animated movie, looked cheesy.

BluRay was a bad choice on both Netflix and Best Buys part. Kinda sucks for the rest of us. Oh well.

ksharp25   February 13th, 2008 2:51 pm ET

I disagree PA Resident.

Even with the $50 drop on HD-DVD attachment for Xbox, Microsoft sure aint doing anything to drop the price of the unit below $350. So, if I can get a base PS3 for $399 or an XBox 360 at $349.99, plus my HD-DVD drive for $120., plus the wi-fi adapter do I dont have to run a 120 foot LAN cable from my cable modem to the living room tv for the XBox 360 which costs another $99.99....given a choice of game systems at $399-499 (PS3) versus $560 (Xbox360 loaded for HD) what do you think I am going to choose?

And Toshiba has had HD-DVD players for tvs retailing at under $200 and they still are getting outsold by Blu-Ray players 2:1. The writing has been on the wall since Sony got 5 studios to the 2 Toshiba got for HD movie content.

Rob   February 13th, 2008 3:09 pm ET

Blu Ray disks hold much more data than HDDVD, thus allowing for more content in both games and movies in addition to more growth potential as technolgies advance and take up more disk space

Mike   February 13th, 2008 3:26 pm ET

Blu what? I guess I need better glasses (and some hearing aids, too) because it all looks the same to me! The only time I ever noticed a difference in any format was a split screen "test" I once did years ago: vhs Dune and dvd Dune. Pretty obvious difference, but who cares? Throw in an ole vhs movie in your librbary that hasn't been replaced with dvd and it looks just fine. You all need something better to spend your money on! Good thing for you, the Nanny state will keep on raising taxes to pay for more war and social engineering failures. And there's the light-bulb moment: tune in and tune out – the reality is just too painful to bear!

Schwillz   February 14th, 2008 12:57 pm ET

Who cares? I don't know anyone or have heard of anyone with any interest in replacing their DVD collections with a high definition format. The battle has been long over and high def. media has lost. The jump between VHS and DVD was stark – better navigation and the ability to tack on bonus features in a more meaningful way; DVD and HD-DVD is solely picture quality when you get down to it. High def. movies are a complete novelty and nothing more.

Josh Geurian   February 14th, 2008 1:02 pm ET

Well then the format war is over! At least the good thing that came from this is the price of blu-ray came down. When this started LG had a HD DVD Blu-Ray combo drive for $1,200, now that drive is $200. Maybe we will see Blu-ray drop in price. Also the PS3 is a horrible gaming system, with a blu-ray player that cannot process TrueHD Audio, so in my book that is a pretty bad blu-ray player. Now lets see if blu-ray can match red-ray HD.

Nicholas King   June 22nd, 2010 3:10 am ET

online movies are cool but i wish the quality were better.;-`

Charlie Wilson   July 27th, 2010 5:13 am ET

i always watch online movies from Vimeo or Youtube, it is low resolution but most of the time sufficient..:~

Lacey Cook   September 13th, 2010 2:41 am ET

i love to watch online movies even if the quality is not superb compared to dvds.;.

Body Detox    October 13th, 2010 6:44 am ET

online movies are guite good but it takes a lot of bandwidth just to watch them:,'

Girls Bedroom :   October 24th, 2010 9:01 pm ET

online movies are cool, they might not have very high quality but at least you can watch lots of em '."

Maria Rogers   December 20th, 2010 6:34 pm ET

watching online movies has been my past time this month, i really enjoy it `"

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