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Netflix Announces Blu-ray Exclusivity

Los Gatos, Calif. — Online movie-rental firm Netflix said Monday that it is now throwing its exclusive support in the high-definition disc format war to Blu-ray Disc.

“From the Netflix perspective, focusing on one format will enable us to create the best experience for subscribers,” the company said in a statement.

Netflix, which has more than 6 million subscribers, has stocked both formats since they became available in 2006, but said the fact that four of the six major studios will now issue high-definition disc titles only in the Blu-ray format was starting to have an impact in the market.

“The prolonged period of competition between the two formats has prevented clear communication to the consumer regarding the richness of the high-def experience versus standard definition,” stated Ted Sarandos, Netflix chief content officer. “We’re now at the point where the industry can pursue the migration to a single format, bring clarity to the consumer and accelerate the adoption of high def. Going forward, we expect that all of the studios will publish in the Blu-ray format and that the price points of high-def DVD players will come down significantly. These factors could well lead to another decade of disc-based movie watching as the consumer’s preferred means.”

The disc-rental company stated that going forward it will purchase only Blu-ray Disc movies and expects to phase out HD DVD by around the end of the year.
Representatives from Toshiba did not respond to requests for comment as this was posted.

The Netflix decision follows a similar move by Hollywood studio Warner Bros. last month to separate from HD DVD and go exclusively with Blu-ray Disc, starting this May.

Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Brothers and Diseny have endorsed Blu-ray. Paramount, DreamWorks animation and Universal Studios publish their high-definition DVDs in Toshiba’s HD DVD format.