Cancellation notice for the HD DVD Group's press conference at the Wynn Hotel
Paramount has clause to back-out of HD DVD support deal

When Paramount announced in August that it sided with HD DVD as the exclusive format for which it will release its high-definition films, most thought of it as a marriage that would prolong the optical format war.

Just prior to the opening of CES 2008, Warner revealed that it will slowly transition from being a format neutral company to supporting Blu-ray Disc exclusively starting this summer. Warner’s shift represents a staggering loss to HD DVD – one so severe that it has Paramount reconsidering its vows with HD DVD.

According to the Financial Times, Paramount is understood to have a clause in its agreement with HD DVD that allows the film company to back out of its exclusivity deal should Warner back Blu-ray Disc. Furthermore, the Times added that, with Warner officially on Blu-ray Disc, Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD.

Should Paramount truly abandon the format they were backing, HD DVD owners will suddenly find themselves without yet another classic movie trilogy with the loss of Indiana Jones – originally expected for release in high-definition in 2008.

DreamWorks Animation, makers of Shrek, also signed an exclusive deal with HD DVD in August 2007, though it is unclear if the studio has the same back-out clause as Paramount.

Somewhat confusingly, Paramount told High-Def Digest that it currently has no plans to abandon HD DVD. "We are still supporting HD DVD," said the Paramount spokesperson. A somewhat startling sign, however, might be that Paramount will not be making any new HD DVD movie announcements at CES 2008.

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