Net co. rolls with Blu-ray

Chalk up another one for Blu-ray: Netflix is phasing out HD DVD rentals from its service due to underwhelming demand.

Online subscription company said it will not purchase any more HD DVD discs, phasing them out entirely by year’s end. Netflix had stocked both high-def formats since their launch almost two years ago.

Company cited studio and customer support of Blu-ray for the decision, noting that the majority of major studios now back Blu-ray exclusively and that the majority of subscribers requesting high-def discs want them in Blu-ray.

Last month, Warner Bros. dropped its dual format approach to endorse Blu-ray exclusively; the studio will continue to release HD DVD discs for a few months at a slight delay after Blu-ray bows. Only Paramount and Universal remain soley commited to HD DVD, and neither is contractually bound to continue releasing on that format.

“Going forward, we expect that all of the studios will publish in the Blu-ray format,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer for Netflix.

The company declined to specifiy how many of its customers rented discs in either format.

Netflix said it would maintain its HD DVD inventory for the natural life cycle of the discs, taking them out of circulation in coming months.

Netflix stocks more than 400 titles on Blu-ray and more than 90,000 titles on standard DVD. Company, which has more than 7 million subscribers, also offers more than 7,000 titles through its online streaming service.

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