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Last minute deal with Fox was the key

by on16 January 2008


Fox almost went HD DVD

It seems that every day that goes by a little more of the behind-the-scenes information emerges on what exactly transpired to get Warner Brothers to switch to Blu-ray. New information is starting to circulate that 20th Century Fox had almost decided to switch from the Blu-ray camp to the HD DVD camp.

As we told you yesterday, Warner’s failure to gain any traction on TotalHD was the final blow that forced them to decide that they had to choose one side or the other to bring the format war to an end, in order to help end consumer confusion.

It would appear that Warner expressed their concerns to Toshiba based on the long standing partnership that they had enjoyed with them. Toshiba was given a chance to bring in another one of the big studios to get them to commit to HD DVD. If Toshiba was successful in bringing in one of the big studios, Warner would commit to going HD DVD exclusive.

As we explained in some of the earlier stories from CES, Fox was the most likely studio that could switch sides. According to various rumors, Fox had already been considering a switch to HD DVD because of the problems that they have had with authoring titles and replicating Blu-ray discs.  According to various sources and rumors, a deal was almost secured with Fox that would have seen Fox go HD DVD exclusive, but at the last minute Fox expressed their concerns to Sony; Sony then took out its check book and wrote Fox a check reported to be worth $120 million to convince Fox to remain Blu-ray exclusive. With the HD DVD camp unable to attract Fox, the die was cast and Warner defected to Blu-ray, as we now all know.

It could have just as well gone the other way if Fox would have opted to switch to HD DVD. What seems to be a reoccurring theme, however, are all of the replication problems that studios are encountering in producing their Blu-ray discs. According to our sources, the reject rate is quite high for Blu-ray, even in single layer, and it is even worse in double layer. In the end, rest assured that it will be the consumer who will have to pick up the tab while studios try to iron out the bugs to produce Blu-ray discs. Blu-ray discs are just simply harder to make and more expensive to manufacture due to higher production line costs.

Last modified on 16 January 2008
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