Blockbuster To Push Blu-ray Starting This July
Somebody had to pick side and home video rental company Blockbuster has made a strong statement in favor of the Blu-ray format over the competitor, HD DVD. Starting this July, 1,700 Blockbuster retailer locations and their online rental service will make a strong push in support of the Blu-ray format with over 170 total titles to be implemented.
This move, while not clearly decisive, comes early in the format war and is coupled with many potential problems for Blockbuster and their consumers. The first problem with the move is that Blu-ray players – even the more affordable Sony Playstation 3 game console – are significantly more expensive than HD DVD players at this point in the marketplace. While Sony, the driving force behind Blu-ray, is offering their second-generation Blu-ray player, the BDP-S300 for $499, they currently charge upward of $800 for their BDP-S1 stand-alone Blu-ray player. Pioneer and Panasonic charge even more for their Blu-ray players. Blu-ray capable Playstation 3 units are priced around $600, yet Toshiba is able to offer various grades of HD DVD players, available for between $400 and $800 (not taking into consideration their current offers for $100 off and free HD DVDs with the purchase). This makes them an easier “attach sale” in the booming HDTV market. Moreover, most early adopters have bought both formats in order to get the most video performance from their HDTV investment.
Other problems facing Blockbuster as they make this move include the fact that many of the best titles in HD are on HD DVD. It’s hard to explain to a customer in a store why he has to watch The Matrix in standard definition when the title is offered on HD DVD and the client has made the investment in the player and a large HDTV.
By: Jerry Del Colliano