Movie big boys Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation have announced that their next-generation DVDs will exclusively be in the HD DVD format, as both companies dump support for Sony’s rival format Blu-ray format.
Previously, movies had been released in both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, but chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures Brad Grey explained the decision: “Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theatre, 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.”
The move is likely to further confuse punters unsure of which platform to invest in, with many fearful of ending up with a modern day Betamax box on their hands.
The competition between Blu-ray and HD DVD has been going on for several years, although the sky high prices meant that the decision to commit to a single format was only furrowing the brows of the extremely well heeled.
Now that prices have fallen down into the reach of the mainstream (Sony’s Blu-ray player can be picked up for as low as $499, with a Toshiba HD DVD selling for just $299), consumers keen to enjoy high definition playback aren’t going to enjoy having to make a decision while the big boys are still slugging it out for format superiority.
Blu-ray currently holds the advantage when it comes to data storage – 50 gigabytes over HD DVD’s smaller 30 GB — but cheaper HD DVD standalone players enjoy a bigger slice of the US market – unless you include homes owning Blu-ray drive-equipped Sony PlayStation 3’s.
As the pressure builds, studios and retailers have been forced to commit to one format or the other, with only Warner Bros still
releasing movies in both formats.