HD DVD in Paramount, DreamWorks deal

Blu-ray and HD DVD war - which will come up top?

I've always said that studio support is one of the key things in this format war between Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. And given that the support for disc formats was always up to the studios, who could conceivably change sides at some point in the game, well, all it takes is one studio to shift one or the other to change the status quo.

The status quo changed--and the playing field just got a whole lot messier--with Monday's announcement of Paramount and DreamWorks throwing their support exclusively behind HD DVD. Until this announcement, Paramount was one of the neutral studios, backing both Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.

While this announcement alone doesn't mean we have a seismic shift in the balance of power, it is noteworthy. For one, it means that Universal is no longer going to be seen as the sole, lonely holdout on the HD DVD front. For another, it means that a slew of appealing titles are now going to be HD DVD only--the first new titles to appear on HD DVD exclusively will be "Blades of Glory," "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third." And this means that catalog titles--such as the Star Trek series, will only be available on HD DVD.

So what's a consumer to do? And what to do when the kids want to see "Cars" and "Shrek"? The former is a Disney title, which means it's Blu-ray only; and the latter is a DreamWorks, which means it's now HD DVD-only.

All of a sudden, a dual-format player such as LG's BH100 (a Blu-ray player which falls short of being a true two-format player, but will play HD DVD discs, at least) and Samsung's upcoming BD-UP5000 is a lot more interesting.

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Melissa J. Perenson

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