The back and forth between
the HD DVD and Blu-ray camps took an interesting twist today. Paramount and
DreamWorks Animation announced today that they will exclusively support the HD
DVD standard worldwide. The two companies previously supported both high-definition
Paramount and DreamWorks claim that the decision to go solely
with HD DVD came after extensive research on market conditions as well as lower
overall production costs for HD DVD discs. As a result, upcoming movie releases
including "Blades of Glory," "Transformers" and "Shrek
the Third" will only be available on HD DVD for those looking to get a
high definition fix.
"Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our
movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to
our audience. I believe HD DVD is not
only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart
choice for Paramount," said Paramount Pictures Chairman and CEO Brady
"We believe the combination of this year’s low- priced
HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles
in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home," continued
DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg.
The victory for HD DVD comes after a string of
"wins" for the Blu-ray camp in recent months. Warner Home Video
announced earlier this month that "300" set a record for the highest
selling high-definition title for the Blu-ray and HD DVD disc formats.
Market research released a few days later showed that the Blu-ray version of
the movie outsold
its HD DVD counterpart 2-to-1.
The 2-to-1 sales advantage was echoed last week when it was
reported that Blu-ray
movies outsold HD DVD movies 2-to-1 for the first six months of 2007 -- 1.6
million units for Blu-ray versus 795,000 units for HD DVD. Total sales to date
of Blu-ray and HD DVD titles stand at 2.2 million and 1.5 million respectively
according to Home Media Research.
The Blu-ray camp has also scored an exclusive deal with
Target in the sale of high-definition players and Blockbuster announced in
June that its 1,450
stores would only rent Blu-ray titles.
The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) even wised up in late
June with the announcement of free movie promotion. Customers who purchased new
Blu-ray players (included the PlayStation 3) were eligible to receive five free movies via a
mail-in promotion. The BDA promotion mirrored
a similar offer made by Toshiba.
Despite the victories claimed by the Blu-ray camp, Toshiba
has made efforts to make sure that its HD DVD format was not left by the wayside.
The company announced its third generation HD
DVD player lineup in early August with a starting price of $299. In
addition, the Toshiba manufacturer Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on also got a price cut
from $199 to $179.
Toshiba is also looking to add HD DVD players to
its laptops to help boost HD DVD penetration.