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Oz video rental giants go Blu-ray only

HD DVD camp 'missing the boat' Down Under

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Major Australian rental chains Video Ezy and Blockbuster - both of which are owned by the same company, Franchise Entertainment Group - have gone all-out for Blu-ray Disc, they said today. Neither chain - comprising 870 stores in total - will now offer HD DVD rentals.

According to FEG Managing Director Paul Uniacke, quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald, that the decision had been made because of what he claimed was the HD DVD camp's slow roll out of the next-gen optical disc format Down Under.

HD DVD, he said, was "missing the boat".

The Herald cited stats from market watcher GfK showing that some 2241 Blu-ray Disc players have been bought by Australians to date. But Aussies have bought only 609 HD DVD machines. The BD figure does not include PlayStation 3 purchases, of which 100,000 have been bought since the console when on sale at the end of March. Some 2461 HD DVD Xbox 360 add-ons have been bought too.

GfK's numbers show sales of 102,000 Blu-ray Discs in Australia but only 18,000 HD DVDs, though that figure doesn't include region-free discs purchased from US and European sellers.

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