In early 2007, Warner Bros. announced at the Consumer
Electronics Show that it was developing a hybrid
disc format that would be playable in both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players.
The dual format disc, called Total HD, was heralded as solution to customer
confusion over the current format war.
Total HD was originally planned to hit the market by the latter
half of this year, but according to Video Business,
that won’t happen until early 2008. Warner senior VP of marketing management
Steve Nickerson wants to assure customers that the state of Total HD is not in
jeopardy, and that movies are 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.”
Warner says it plans to launch the format with 10 to 20
titles and to have retailers display them all together, separately from the HD
DVD and Blu-ray section to differentiate them.
The movie studio hopes that its Total HD disc will encourage
consumers to purchase high-def movies, as the dual format discs would be
essentially future-proof should one format prove to be victorious.
“The Total Hi Def disc is about giving consumers complete
choice, providing creators and artists the greatest possible distribution of
their work, and helping retailers thrive in the marketplace,” said Kevin
Tsujihara, President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, at the CES unveiling. “By
eliminating potential apprehension over formats, we believe this new disc could
help consumers fully embrace the greatest home entertainment experience
Warner, one of the studios that supports both formats, says
it will continue its practice of dual releases for the time being. “Our
research shows that there is demand for each of those products,” said studio VP
Dan Miron. “We are trying to evaluate [how to best treat] each one of these
The Total HD disc would also simplify point of sale issues
for retailers by reducing the shelf space required to carry two versions of the
same content. But until either one format wins by the end of 2007 or all
studios start manufacturing Total HD discs – technology which Warner is sharing
with the industry for free – then retailers will have to view Total HD as a
third format on its shelves.
“With high-def, we’re trying to put Blu-ray and HD DVD on
the same disc. Total HD is not coming until first-quarter 2008. We will find
shelf space,” added Miron.
quote: I believe this is the reason Warner Bros. is holding off on the dual-format idea. There is no point investing more money into something that may not be needed/ desired in the near future.
quote: As many know there's been a format war. Two formats have been proposed as a successor to DVD, one sponsored by Warner primarily and one sponsored by Sony. Warner is HDDvd and Sony is Blu-Ray. I think it's pretty clear that Blu-Ray has won. Even Warner has agreed to license and to release technology to Blu-Ray, only Universal hasn't made a commitment at this point, so I think the format wars are a thing of the past and I think it's going to be Blu-Ray. I think the content will get priced at a 20% premium. I think it's going to roll out slowly over time.