Earlier this week, video rental giant Blockbuster said it would stock Blu-ray rental movies in all its 1,700 US stores, a move that was seen as a severe blow to the rival HD DVD format.

But at an HD DVD briefing in London yesterday, representatives for the HD DVD camp said Blockbuster's decision was like a drop in the ocean.

"Video rental only accounts for about 1 per cent of our business," said Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment, and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group .

"Blockbuster's decision won't really affect the success of HD DVD in the long run; its online rental service will still offer both formats and keeping them both alive alongside each other," Graffeo said.

Blockbuster move leading to HD DVD cancellations?

Blockbuster has been renting out Blu-ray and HD DVD titles in 250 of its US stores since late last year. The video rental firm said that over 70 per cent of its customers chose Blu-ray over its HD DVD rival.

However anecdotal evidence suggests that Blockbuster's move is already leading to the cancellation of HD DVD players in the US. The HD DVD Promotion Group must know too that movie rentals will become increasingly important for both formats in the medium and long-term.