Netflix Vows to Be True Blu

Netflix will drop HD DVD and stock its virtual shelves exclusively with Blu-ray discs, the rental service announced today. From now on it will buy new stock only in Blu-ray and will phase out existing HD DVD stock by year-end.

With a super-majority of major studios supporting BD, "the industry has stated its clear preference," said the press release. An executive was quoted as saying the format war "prevented clear communication regarding the richness of the high-def experience" and urged "the migration to a single format."

The majority of Netflix's high-def-savvy subscribers have chosen Blu-ray over HD DVD. However, both camps together form only a small subset of subscribers. The majority still prefer standard-def DVD, mirroring the general trend in the software and hardware markets.

Meanwhile, a glimmer of good news for HD DVD enthusiasts came in the latest hardware numbers from the NPD Group as reported by TWICE. For the week ending January 12, Blu-ray vs. HD DVD market share were 90 vs. 7 percent. But for the week ending January 26, the figures were 65 vs. 28 percent.

This would suggest that the Warner defection initially depressed HD DVD sales but they've bounced back up again. And that's without factoring in the potential impact of Toshiba's Super Bowl ad. Of course, all that's merely speculation, the figures are sketchy, and it remains to see how the story will play out. In the meantime, HD DVD is hanging in there.