Most Blockbuster stores in the US will offer high-def films on Blu-Ray but not HD-DVD. Remember, folks, that the Beta vs. VHS war was decided largely by which format the rental shops supported.

One could argue that in the next few years Blockbuster will matter less, as people increasingly download high-def movies. But that doesn’t end well for HD-DVD either, since once the physical medium is out of the loop, who cares about formats?

As for Blockbuster’s move being rushed: remember that a bricks-and-mortar store has a vested interest in there being just one successful format. Two formats take up more shelf space and/or cost more to acquire and manage. In fact, I’d be fascinated to know the deals that were put on the table by the respective industry groups – who was able to move further on pricing? The conventional wisdom has it that Blu-Ray discs are more expensive to manufacture, but I guess we don’t really know.