Just a quick reminder to get things started today - be sure to sign the Blockbuster widescreen petition if you haven't already. It's already up to over 15,000 signatures, so keep 'em coming. With any luck, they'll listen. But most people have been getting this standard e-mail response from the rentailer:
The movie studios determine whether or not to release their DVD's in standard (full-screen) or wide-screen versions. It is our preference, and the preference of our customers that because of the versatility and storage capacity of DVD technology, DVDs include both versions on one disc. In the past, when the studios have chosen to release separate standard and wide-screen version DVDs, it has caused confusion amongst our customers. To minimize our customer dissatisfaction, we have chosen to carry only one version of a title on DVD, and our research has shown that more customers prefer the standard than the wide-screen version. We take your comments and suggestions as a welcome show of interest and loyalty. We are forwarding your comments to the appropriate department for their review.
Well Blockbuster... maybe it's time to try to end that confusion by educating your customers? Thanks to about a hundred readers who sent that in.
Wow - we've been getting bombarded by e-mail from readers, many of whom have never written before, who are angered by Blockbuster's lack of widescreen support in their rental stores. Several have even humorously pointed out that Blockbuster's recent TV adds for Jurassic Park III show both widescreen clips from the film and the widescreen DVD cover... which isn't available for rental in their stores. We've also gotten dozens of e-mails from actual Blockbuster employees who are frustrated by their employer. Many of them say that they also get complaints from customers about widescreen DVDs (the old "why are these black bars there?" question), and feel that their company is doing a disservice to customers by not attempting to educate people about the differences between widescreen and full frame. We couldn't agree more. In lieu of Blockbuster doing anything at all, feel free to point people to our anamorphic guide if you think it might help. The main points we want to make are these...
1) Blockbuster should make an effort to educate people on the differences between widescreen and full frame. Most people have no idea what they're missing with full frame, assuming in error that when the picture fills their TV, they're getting everything. Let customers make an informed choice. For a company that makes its money by showing people movies, it should have more respect for film.
2) No one is saying that Blockbuster should stop carrying full frame. We simply believe that they should try to service both customers - the ones who want widescreen and the rest who want full frame.
To make sure Blockbuster gets this message, sign the Blockbuster widescreen petition ASAP and get everyone you know to do the same. Spread the word!
Well, folks... we've got another battle to fight in the widescreen wars, and this time it's Blockbuster lined up on the other side of the battlefield. We've been hearing from tons of readers who say they've tried to rent copies of The Mummy Returns, Cats & Dogs, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and Jurassic Park III on DVD from the giant. When when they do, they're surprised to find NO copies of the widescreen version of the films on store shelves. It seems that when there's two versions of the disc available, Blockbuster only stocks the pan & scan version. When people complain to the company, they're basically given the brush off. One reader had this to say this morning: "When I asked the clerk when the widescreen (16x9) copies would be available, he said probably never." Another reader tried the customer service number, and got this response: "We don't decide what goes on our shelves. Only the studios decide that." Which is complete bullshit. Blockbuster is a 1000lb gorilla in the industry and it does plenty of term dictating to the Hollywood studios. And we think it's time that someone took them to task for this widescreen thing. At the very least, the retailer should stock both versions of a disc. Clearly, they're not serving the needs of an important and vocal portion of their customers. So here's what you can do:
- Call their customer service hotline and complain - 972-683-5959
- E-mail their customer service people at this link and do the same
- Phone and write to their world headquarters to complain at this address: Blockbuster Inc. 1201 Elm Street Dallas, Texas 75270 - 214-854-3000
- An online petition's been started to show Blockbuster just how many people they're pissing off - sign it, have your family and friends sign it and link to it from your websites.
- Try another video retailer in your area.
This widescreen vs. pan & scan thing is only going to get worse if we let companies like Blockbuster have their way. It's easy to imagine the studios deciding to support only full frame if stores and rental giants negatively skew widescreen sales numbers by not stocking widescreen copies of DVDs. Some believe it's already happening. So let Blockbuster know how you feel on this issue and tell your friends to do the same. It's time they get the message."