Print 19 comment(s) - last by cleco.. on Nov 20 at 3:46 PM

The dual-format high-def disc is on hold indefinitely

Early this year during CES 2007, Warner unveiled its possible solution for the ongoing high-definition format war: a disc that would be playable on both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players. The dual format disc, called Total HD, was heralded as solution to customer confusion over the current format war.

Originally slated for a second-half 2007 release, Warner revealed in June that its Total HD product would be delayed until 2008. During that time, Warner senior VP of marketing management Steve Nickerson assured customers that the state of Total HD was not in jeopardy, and that movies were on the way. “There is no expiration date on the viability of this concept, so we’re not in a rush to do it,” Nickerson said. “We’ll do it when it makes sense and when it's right.”

In September, Warner Home Video president Ron Sanders expressed less optimism for the format’s viability in the market. “We’re concerned that as the only one publishing on it, it would be hard to make it go. We’re still looking at, though. We’re still talking to retail, but it’s kind of on hold right now,” said Sanders.

With Paramount and DreamWorks now releasing high-definition movies only on HD DVD, the sudden utility of a dual-format disc now applies only to Warner’s own releases. As a result, the movie studio has even fewer reasons to move Total HD to the market.

The latest update on the status of Total HD comes from Jim Noonan, a SVP at Warner Home Entertainment Group, who said to High-Def Digest, “The short answer is, for the moment, it [Total HD] is on hold,” citing retailer resistance to the idea of carrying yet another different colored box.

Apparently, Warner’s own catalog isn’t reason enough to go forward with Total HD. “If we were to put out Total HD with just our titles, it wouldn't really provide the solution to our retail partners that it was intended to provide,” explained Noonan. “If anything, at this point, it would further complicate their life, because there would be another product looking for shelf space. Our job is not to further complicate the lives of our retailers."

Noonan added that Warner has no proprietary or monetary interest in Total HD, and that the technology “was offered purely as an industry solution – and it is still a good and viable solution that has no expiration date.”

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By Gul Westfale on 11/19/2007 9:27:22 AM , Rating: 5
... i guess they just realised that with the advent of the affordable combo player sometime soon that their format might be a waste of money.

RE: well...
By masher2 on 11/19/2007 9:51:46 AM , Rating: 4
I think that, for once, we have a studio being totally honest with us. WB realized that a third HD option now-- especially one sold only by one manufacturer-- would simply be too confusing for the average consumer.

RE: well...
By retrospooty on 11/19/2007 10:00:32 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, 2 is too many, 3 is worse...

Even Sony's CEO has come out and said he would do it differently and work to cooperate on one standard if he could do it over again.

RE: well...
By BladeVenom on 11/19/2007 2:39:38 PM , Rating: 4
He only says that after it looks like Blu-ray is going to lose. Lets see how conciliatory Sony is next time there is need for a new format.

RE: well...
By retrospooty on 11/19/2007 2:51:59 PM , Rating: 2
good point. =)

They didnt learn after betamax, and memory stick, why would they learn anything now.

RE: well...
By Gio6518 on 11/20/2007 12:24:35 AM , Rating: 1
yeah right with Blu-Ray dominating week after week

and this right after signing a 4 year deal with Blu-Ray, think you got it back-wards

RE: well...
By theapparition on 11/19/2007 12:06:47 PM , Rating: 3
But it's not another HD option, it's packaging both on the same disc. I don't think this would add to HD confusion, but would help adoption. If they were talking about HVD, I'd agree with you, but it's not a different option.

There's another very simple solution. How about packaging both the BR and HD disk in the same box. At the manufactured cost, it would reduce their profits by less than 2%, but perceived value could help them keep costs higher, offsetting the profit reduction. Also, if it increases adoption, it helps benefit them as well.

There is also precedent, I have several movies that packaged both the wide screen and full screen versions on separate disks in the same package. Alas, we'll never see this.

RE: well...
By Screwballl on 11/19/2007 3:26:09 PM , Rating: 2
or why not just release a single disc with Blue-Ray on one side and HD-DVD on the other. I have heard of some that are DVD one one side and HD-DVD on the other....

RE: well...
By johnsonx on 11/19/2007 3:37:54 PM , Rating: 2
That's what TotalHD was supposed to be: BD on one side, HD-DVD on the other.

RE: well...
By cleco on 11/20/2007 3:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
This format war is getting more annoying than trying to decide what kind of toilet paper to buy. I really hope christmas makes one of the formats a definite winner.

And with the HD player dropping prices I can only see HD slowly take over sales.

Either way like I said this lameness needs to be over with

Give them credit for at least trying
By VoodooChicken on 11/19/2007 10:03:18 AM , Rating: 2
Like everyone and everything else, WB has been widely hit-or-miss, but their hits have been solid when they landed. I am appreciative that they offer dual support for many titles, but I understand and agree fully why there isn't Blu-Ray discs yet of the Matrix or Batman Begins.

RE: Give them credit for at least trying
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2007 10:39:12 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking of movies that need to come out on a HD format, where is Star Wars looking to land?

RE: Give them credit for at least trying
By akugami on 11/19/2007 11:19:53 AM , Rating: 2
Speaking as someone who owns the Laserdisc (think foot long dual sided DVD's) versions of the Star Wars trilogy and someone who recently bought the updated original trilogy set on DVD, I'd say the original trilogy will be released in an HD format sometime in 2015. And by that time, it wouldn't matter as we should have cheap $50-100 dual HD players out there.

RE: Give them credit for at least trying
By FITCamaro on 11/19/2007 12:12:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'm familiar with laser disc. ;)

By Screwballl on 11/19/2007 3:37:56 PM , Rating: 2
yes but much of this younger generation has no clue... I have been trying to get my uncle to sell me his player and movie collection since it is so out of date and useless nowadays /smirk/

By theapparition on 11/19/2007 12:11:06 PM , Rating: 3 much can Lucas screw the originals up and re-re-re-release them as the definitive-ultra-über-limited edition-collectors set. :P

Seriously though, I think when they are released it will be moot due to dual format players, but my money would be on Blu-ray, since I believe Fox owns distribution rights.

kinda disappointed it's gone
By cubby1223 on 11/19/2007 6:11:50 PM , Rating: 2
Would have been funny watching fanboys twist weekly disc sales, since TotalHD really cannot be counted for one format over the other.

By murphyslabrat on 11/20/2007 1:49:11 PM , Rating: 2
I know. Every time I read any HD-related articles, it feels like I am eating rotini.

By eyebeeemmpawn on 11/19/07, Rating: 0
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard
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