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"Transformers" will be an HD DVD exclusive release this fall
The HD DVD group scores a major win in the high definition disc war

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 disc formats.

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 Grey.

"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.





"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan







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