In another knock against HD-DVD, Netflix has decided to exclusively back Blu-ray. Frankly, this makes no sense. I can almost understand the retailer mindset that their shelf space is finite and they'd rather stock their shelves with a product that moves faster. But Netflix operates out of warehouses! Are we really to believe that by not stocking HD-DVDs, they're going to use that space for something else?
On the other hand, you could argue that Netflix is simply trying to hasten the end of the format war. But do they really think their choice is going to be the knock-out blow against HD-DVD? And do they really have that much to gain by ending the format war? On a per-movie-rental basis, they don't make any more money renting hi-def movies. In fact, they probably make less, as the initial purchase price of a hi-def movie is higher than standard DVD.
As a current Netflix subscriber who rents both Blu-ray and HD-DVD movies, I find this quote curious:
"From the Netflix perspective, focusing on one format will enable us to create the best experience for subscribers," the company said, adding that not many customers order high-def DVDs.
I fail to see how NOT offering the movies that some people might want to rent will create the best experience for their subscribers. Netflix' real power is in their ability to stock and ship anything that you might want to rent. Traditional rental stores can't touch this kind of selection. Now Netflix is actively working to limit the selection of movies they offer? That doesn't make any sense.
I'm going to seriously consider switching to Blockbuster because of this decision. While Blockbuster exclusively stocks Blu-ray in their stores -- where the limited shelf space argument comes into play -- their online/mailing service still offers HD-DVDs in addition to Blu-ray.
UPDATE (2:20pm): Further reading shows that Netflix is planning to phase out HD-DVD by the end of 2008. No need to jump to Blockbuster just yet. By the end of 2008, HD-DVD may be completely dead and this decision by Netflix will be moot.
Choice Downloads - May
7 years ago