HBO, BBC also on Blu-ray Disc's side

Warner’s announcement last week of Blu-ray Disc exclusivity had a ripple effect on more than just one home video company’s releases. Warner Home Video also distributes New Line, HBO and BBC Video products, leaving some to wonder if Blu-ray Disc just gained an entire stable of studio support.

According to Variety, New Line and HBO will follow Warner’s lead to side only with Blu-ray Disc. BBC Video, the company behind the popular high-definition nature documentary Planet Earth, has not yet publicly expressed its intentions with format exclusivity.

New Line already positions its Blu-ray Disc products with greater priority than the equivalent HD DVD. New Line’s first high-definition film, Hairspray, hit Blu-ray Disc in late November 2007, while an HD DVD version was only promised sometime in early 2008.

The reason for the disparity in the release date of Hairspray was supposedly due to HD DVD’s lack of region coding, reported High-Def Digest. Studios can sell Blu-ray Disc and DVD versions in the North American market thanks to region coding technologies that uphold international distribution agreements. The same situation also applies to the currently released Rush Hour 3 on Blu-ray Disc and DVD. New Line has yet to announce release dates for Hairspray and Rush Hour 3 on HD DVD.

Perhaps the most important outcome of New Line's upcoming decision is that the studio owns the rights to The Lord of The Rings trilogy. Should the (second) most compelling motion picture trilogy hit high-definition home video, it’ll be on Blu-ray Disc.

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