Lately, we must say that the last few salvos in the Blu-ray vs. HD DVD war seem to have favored Blu-Ray as the winner. Things seem to have swung the other direction as DreamWorks Animation and Paramount announced that they will be switching their backing from a multi-format approach to exclusively HD DVD.
This is very good news for the HD DVD camp, as they have struggled to get studios to commit to exclusively supporting their format rather than releasing high definition titles in titles in both the Blu-ray and HD DVD formats. Many rumors suggest that the HD DVD group has offered both studios a lot of money to entice them to support only the HD DVD format.
One issue of note for Paramount is that the announcement that they will be supporting HD DVD exclusively does not cover Steven Spielberg titles that are distributed by Paramount, perhaps the best known of which is the “Indiana Jones” film series.
The releases from Paramount and DreamWorks Animation do indicate that the selection of HD DVD over Blu-Ray had to do with a lot of market factors including worldwide market conditions and the lower production costs found in the production of HD DVD titles. The news also means that HD DVD owners will get “Blades of Glory,” “Transformers” and “Shrek 3” as some of the first batch of HD DVD exclusives from these two studios this fall.
The news now evens up the playing field between HD DVD and Blu-ray with both sides now having a mostly equal share of exclusive studio titles between them. Neither studio addressed the existing Blu-ray titles that are already on store shelves from each studio as to whether they would continue to be available in both formats. Our suggestion is that if you want any Blu-ray titles from Paramount or DreamWorks Animation that are already out, you might want to snap them up quickly. They may mysteriously be “out of stock” until the format war is settled.
HD DVD owners should rejoice in the light of this news, as it will really help with the intended push that HD DVD will make this Christmas season with lower priced players and a large catalog of HD DVD movies to play on them. While it seems to us that in the U.S. Blu-ray may have a bit of a lead, in the European countries it does appear that HD DVD is winning.
The sad part about this is that it's obvious that the format war is going to continue, and this only strengthens the resolve of both sides. In our opinion if the HD DVD group is able to deliver a US$199 player for this holiday season as has been speculated, it could be the big hit of this holiday season; and with this news, it appears that there will be more movies to choose from in the HD DVD format.
No word if the regular DreamWorks studio will follow DreamWorks Animation in going HD DVD exclusive.