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Breaking News: Blockbuster Shuns HD DVD In Favor of Blu-ray

In what could be a major blow to HD DVD in the format war, DVD rental giant Blockbuster announced that it will expand rental of Blu-ray Discs exclusively into 1,450 stores by mid-July. Blockbuster will continue to rent HD DVD discs online and in the 250 stores in which it has been renting both Blu-ray and HD DVD discs since late last year. For a running total, that's 1,700 exclusive Blu-ray stores and 250 stores stocking both formats.

Blockbuster's Matthew Smith was quoted by the Associated Press as saying that its customers made this choice for Blockbuster. According to Smith, Blockbuster's customers in those 250 test stores were choosing Blu-ray 70% of the time. Smith also stated that the greater choice in titles in Blu-ray was a factor: "When you walk into a store and see all this product available in Blu-ray and there is less available on HD DVD, I think the consumer gets that."

It's not a secret that all the significant sales news in next-gen software this year has been in favor of Blu-ray. In recent months huge hits like Casino Royale and the first two Pirates of the Caribbean movies have hit Blu-ray exclusively. Although HD DVD answered with an exclusive release (for now) of the The Matrix Trilogy, Blu-ray has continued to outpace HD DVD in sales.

Double inventory is something that retailers don't want, and Blockbuster is the first major retailer to say no to stocking both formats. If other retailers look to follow suit, HD DVD won't be the choice based on the numbers.

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