Coming a month after Netflix announced it would begin offering high-def DVD rentals to its subscribers, rival Blockbuster announced today it is also jumping into the next-gen DVD rental game.
Home Media Retailing reports that beginning April 18, the online rental service will give its customers the ability to add four initial HD-DVD offerings from Warner and Universal to their online rental queues.
Blockbuster will offer Warner's HD-DVD disc releases 'Million Dollar Baby,' 'Last Samurai,' 'Phantom of the Opera' and Universal's 'Serenity' this coming Tuesday; Uni's 'Apollo 13' and 'Doom' will follow a week later on April 25.
Blockbuster said it conducted a market survey of a select number of its subscribers, which found that 47 percent were "somewhat interested" in renting high-def DVDs. Another 33 percent also indicated an interest in purchasing high-def DVD hardware, "predicated on price, emergence of a standard HD format and availability of titles."
"'The Matrix' and 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' topped the list of specific movies subscribers said they'd first like to see in high-definition," Blockbuster Online senior vp Shane Evangelist told HMR. adding that the top-rated genres among likely high-def DVD renters were action, sci-fi, family, and music performance titles.
Blockbuster has not yet announced pricing for its HD-DVD rentals, though it is expected they will be the same or competitive with its standard DVD offerings.