In what may come do be viewed as the coupe de grace to HD-DVD formatting, Blockbuster Inc. Senior Vice President Matthew Smith told the Associated Press that, “The consumers are sending us a message. I can’t ignore what I’m seeing.”

After side-by-side evaluations in 250 Blockbuster stores across North America, the company claims that customers select Blu-ray formatting 70percent of the time.

Smith claims the decision was helped by Blu-ray’s availability advantage: all of the major motion picture studios are releasing films in the Blu-ray format. The Walt Disney Company ONLY releases high definition pictures in Blu-ray format while some companies like Warner Bros. is releasing its offerings in both.

The format war has lead to a price war among manufacturers like Toshiba (who is firmly in the HD-DVD camp) and Somy (who supports only the Blu-Ray format). With the apparent death of HD-DVD, consumers can probably look forward to a reversal in the recent drop in the cost of the high definition players.

Sony’s player hit the market at $1000, but its retail cost has now fallen below $500. If you’re in the high definition market and teetering, you might want to go with Sony, and you might want to do it now, before they can get out to the store floor to mark the prices back up again.

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