HD DVD Backers Downplay Blockbuster Snub

The recent announcement by Blockbuster video rental chain to sell only Blu-ray Disc titles in all but a relative handful of its retail outlets has not rattled the HD DVD side, at least not publicly. The HD DVD camp said the announcement is insignificant in the larger scheme of things, although it also points out that HD DVD titles will continue to be sold in about 250 Blockbuster stores.

Ken Graffeo, an HD marketing executive with Universal Studios and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group, said last week at a press briefing in London that HD DVD title rentals constitutes less than 1 percent of overall revenues and this development will not affect the eventual success of the format, according to bit-tech.net.

Graffeo claims that despite trailing quite a bit in overall disc player sales because of the PlayStation 3 and its internal Blu-ray drive, standalone HD DVD set-top boxes are outselling Blu-ray boxes in the United States by better than 3-to-1. (The HD DVD Promotional Group said it sold more than 50,000 standalone boxes in America in just the past month and a half.)

Graffeo also says that less than one-third of Americans who bought PS3 game units are actually connected to HD sets, and that owning an internal Blu-ray drive with a PS3 is not the same thing as going out and buying or renting Blu-ray movies.