We knew the HD-DVD and BluRay format war for the High Def DVD market was just like the VHS / Beta war was for the video tape market many years ago. It looks like BluRay will be winning this round! NetFlix has just announced they are giving up on HD-DVD movies.
The official announcement from NetFlix, the hugely popular DVD rental site, was released on February 11, 2008:
You're receiving this email because you have asked to receive high-definition movies in the HD DVD format. As you may have heard, most of the major movie studios have recently decided to release their high-definition movies exclusively in the Blu-ray format. In order to provide the best selection of high-definition titles for our members, we have decided to go exclusively with Blu-ray as well.
While we will continue to make our current selection of HD DVD titles available to you for the next several months, we will not be adding additional HD DVD titles or reordering replacements.
I was hedging my bets for the format of high definition DVDs up until this point. We own an Xbox 360, which handles HD-DVD using an add-on feature. We also own a PlayStation 3, which *natively* handles Blu-Ray DVDs. We use our PS3 fairly frequently to play Blu-Ray DVDs and order quite a number of these via NetFlix.
So we were quite pleased to see NetFlix heading in the Blu-Ray direction.
In fact only a few days ago Amazon had as its "gold box" deal the add on HD-DVD player for the Xbox 360 for a very cheap price, along with a collection of HD-DVD discs. A lot of people on the Amazon forums were talking about this Gold Box deal, saying that Amazon was only doing this because they were giving up on the HD-DVD format.
If you are a PlayStation 3 owner, this is great news!! You have invested in a hardware platform which is apparently winning the format war. Most major studios have said at this point that they are going to produce their high definition DVDs in BluRay format only. It is a royal pain for studios to release DVDs in two separate formats. They want to use one or the other. For PS3 owners, it means they have a single unit which both plays games and plays movies on their high definition systems.
UPDATE: On February 15, 2008, WalMart announced it will no longer carry HD-DVD format discs. It will ONLY carry the BluRay format discs. Yet another sign that BluRay is becoming the high definition DVD of choice!