Next-gen DVD format war heats up


hddvd-vs-bluray.jpgJust when you thought that the HD DVD and Blu-ray format war was over with the latter taking the spoils, a new development crops up to shift everything back to neutral ground yet again. Apparently Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. mentioned that they would offer movies exclusively in the HD DVD format instead of Blu-ray despite the latter moving more numbers in terms of sales. Why would both companies pitch their support behind the lagging HD DVD is anybody’s guess. According to Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks Animation, “I am very late to this party because I was skeptical about high definition but what is happening in the marketplace is a game changer.”

To get a better idea of just how the market is like at the moment, from January 1 to August 12 this year, over 2.1 Blu-ray discs were sold while HD DVD only shifted 1.1 million units. Both numbers pale in comparison to standard DVDs that moved a massive half a billion discs. With prices of dedicated HD DVD players falling down to $299 at press time (word has it that the price will further be slashed to $199 by the time the holiday season rolls around), it would be interesting to see whether a shift will occur towards the cheaper HD DVD players compared to Blu-ray players that do command a considerable premium (nearly double that of its rival player).

The shift in allegiance for Paramount and DreamWorks will certainly cause a chink in Blu-ray’s armor, but as to the extent of the damage incurred, that remains to be seen. What do you think will be the outcome of this “format war”? Some people claim that nothing happens as more and more hardware manufacturers come out with hybrid drives, but then again there will always be a certain segment that hopes to see their format triumph over another. Just a word of caution – those who want to catch summer hits Transformers and Shrek the Third in high definition will have to settle for HD DVD.

Source: LA Times

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