In a surprising turn of events Paramount Pictures has come out and said they will release titles on HD-DVD exclusively! This is huge considering the mega Transformers movie will be arriving on the HD format very soon. Kelley Avery, president of Paramount Home Entertainment, said that the reason why Paramount decided to exclusively release movies onto HD-DVD instead of Blu-Ray is because of HD-DVDs better quality and lower cost. Blades of Glory and Transformers will arrive on HD-DVD this Fall as the first batch of titles.
Dreamworks will also be using HD-DVD as their exclusive format and will be releasing Shrek the Third this Fall as well. Other related studios to use HD-DVD in this announcement are Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films. However Steven Spielberg’s movies will not be exclusive to HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. Considering how anti-HD Spielberg is to begin with it’s not that surprising.
So far Blu-Ray discs have been outselling HD-DVD because Blu-Ray has the higher install base as PS3’s are also Blu-Ray players. On the other hand the cheapest HD-DVD player is the add-on for the Xbox 360 which hasn’t sold spectacularly yet.
Looking at Fall’s HD disc lineup for Blu-Ray the major two titles are Spider-Man 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean 3.
If HD-DVD does not meet or surpass Blu-Ray sales this Holiday season, studios could begin to question the future of the format. For consumers waiting to adopt a HD format things have just gotten a little crazier.
I own the HD-DVD add-on for the Xbox 360, but I haven’t bought a HD movie since I purchased the unit. I can’t tell a huge difference between HD titles and regular DVDs so why pay the extra money per disc? The huge advantage to this next-gen formats is with box sets. Now you’ll be able to fit more hours of content onto a single disc which makes viewing extra features better for everyone.
Blu-Ray is here to stay because Sony is using it on the PS3. As long as the PS3 is bought by consumers, Blu-Ray will always have a stake in this war. If Microsoft truly wants HD-DVD to win they will have to integrate it with the system. I think Microsoft will release this combo system next year if HD-DVD can survive this Holiday season.