Where buying is not an option, there’s always rental property to consider. Apparently that goes for video discs, too.
The persistently troubling economy is keeping a lot of folks closer to home and apparently better able to watch more home entertainment in the form of HD television and video discs. And a lot of that viewing apparently is coming from rentals. While standard DVD’s popularity peaked a couple of years ago, Blu-ray is finally starting to make some inroads following a costly, time-consuming battle with format wannabe HD DVD, and the fact that standard DVD quality is not exactly shabby to begin with — even on a large-screen HD set.
In both sales and rentals for the first half of the year, Blu-ray still owns only a small slice of the overall video-disc pie (somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent, depending on the title) — yet the 1080p format’s rental numbers from Netflix, Redbox, Blockbuster and others are markedly increasing month-by-month, while DVD rentals continue to slide.
According to Rentrak, overall disc rentals rose about 8.3 percent ($3.4 billion in America), but those numbers are somewhat deceiving. Standard DVD rentals are actually down about 2.5 percent, while Blu-ray rental activity has surged more than 62 percent over a year ago.
Kiosk disc rentals, notably from Redbox, showed dramatic growth in the first six months of 2009 — climbing more than 150 percent year-to-year.
HD DVD, Blu-ray Rentals Slow, But Equal
Netflix, which continues to hold a sizeable lead of online subscribers over rival Blockbuster for its system of renting standard DVD rentals through the mail, said its Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD rentals remain about equal among customers, albeit the next-gen disc business still represents a very small fraction of its overall DVD rental operations.