HD-DVD backers question rental firm’s current importance to success of formats

Blockbuster?s Blu-ray move

The backers of HD-DVD, the DVD forum have rebuffed claims that Blockbuster’s decision to stock only Blu-ray movies will adversely affect its format’s chances. Speaking at Wednesday’s HD-DVD briefing in London, representatives for the format claimed that the rental firm’s decision ‘was a drop in the ocean’.

Co-president of the HD-DVD promotional group, Ken Graffeo, who is also executive vice president of marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment told the conference: “Video rental only accounts for about one per cent of our business.”

“Blockbuster’s decision won’t really affect the success of HD DVD in the long run; its online rental service will still offer both formats and keeping them both alive alongside each other,” continued Graffeo.

Blockbuster’s decision to stock VHS tapes in the 1980’s is seen as one of the key factors in the decline of Sony’s Betamax format, although as the DVD forum are keen to point out, Blockbuster’s importance within the video-rental market in both the US and the UK is miniscule compared to what it was 20 years ago.

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