New-media darlings like Netflix
Blockbuster reached that conclusion last year, after testing both Blu-ray and HD-DVD optical discs at some of its stores. After tallying the rental results, Blockbuster went Blu-ray, choosing to spurn HD-DVD as it expanded the program.
It was a gutsy call for Blockbuster; at the time, the studios were still divided over which platform to support. However, since Blockbuster relies on video game rental systems to drive traffic into its stores -- and Sony's
Netflix probably didn't even have to make the decision this time around, since more and more studios have gradually migrated over to the Blu-ray side of the debate. Of the six major studios, only two still support the HD-DVD format. Blu-ray is pricier than HD-DVD, but the discs offer greater storage capacity than all but the very newest HD-DVD discs.
It's about time Netflix picked a side, really. Hopefully, this will help beef up Netflix's investment in Blu-ray, because my lone gripe as a longtime Netflix subscriber is the unbelievable "Very Long Wait" availability on the Blu-ray titles I've added to my queue.
I'm not a hyperactive renter. I know that my account isn't being throttled, since I only go through five or six Netflix rentals a month. That makes me a profitable subscriber in Netflix's eyes. It just never made sense to me that Netflix would offer HD-DVD and Blu-ray if it wasn't going to order enough titles to satisfy its users.
If anything, Blu-ray titles are a better investment than conventional DVD alternatives, since Netflix knows that the base of Blu-ray players will only grow in the coming years. Loading up on Live Free or Die Hard and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End on Blu-ray probably won't backfire, even if Apple
Netflix isn't looking to scrap its existing HD-DVD titles, which will stick around until attrition plays itself out. However, Netflix will no longer order new HD-DVD discs.
In short, the battle is over. Blu-ray wins. Now let's hope that the price of the Blu-ray players drops, in order to reach the mainstream market. Let's also hope that Netflix's inventory can keep up on that front, for a change.
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