Blockbuster expands its Blu-Ray DVD coverage to all 1,700 locations.

Game and movie rental chain Blockbuster announced today that they will only carry next-generation DVDs in Blu-Ray format throughout 1,450 of their stores exclusively, with another 250 stores carrying both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD formats. This announcement serves as another high-profile setback for the HD-DVD discs in the format war.

In the first 250 test locations where both formats were being offered, Blockbuster discovered that over 70 percent of its customers were choosing Blu-Ray movies for rental and purchase. “The consumers are sending us a message. I can’t ignore what I’m seeing,” stated Matthew Smith, Senior Vice President of Merchandising at Blockbuster.

Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia sees the potential for Blockbuster’s Blu-Ray favoritism to improve Playstation 3 sales. Bhatia wrote in a comment to his financial service’s clients, “If the hi-def DVD format indeed gets settled in Blu-Ray’s favor, it will likely lift sales of the PlayStation 3.”

Smith added, “We intend to meet the demands of our customers and based on the trends we are seeing, we’re expanding our Blu-ray inventory to ensure our stores reflect the right level of products.

“While it is still too early to say which high-definition format will become the industry standard, we will continue to closely monitor customer rental patterns both at our stores and online, so we can adjust our inventory mix accordingly and ensure that Blockbuster is offering customers the most convenient access to the movies they want, in the format they want.”


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