Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Paramount Drops Blu-Ray Support in Favour of HD DVD Format

Paramount Pictures, a part of Viacom media company and a leading Hollywood studio, announced on Monday that it would not release new movies on Blu-ray discs (BDs) going forward, concentrating on exclusive support of HD DVD. The move may not only emphasize that popularity of the BD format is decreasing, but also may indicate that Paramount now bets on hybrid high-def players and chooses a the most cost-efficient format.
“Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, 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,” said Brad Grey, chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures, a unit of Viacom Inc.
Nevertheless, movies directed by Steven Spielberg will still be available on both types of new-generation DVDs.
Recently it was reported that sales of Blu-ray standalone players’ sales saw a 27% decline from Q1 to Q2, and Blu-ray software sales were down 5%, which essentially lowered Paramount’s interest in supporting Blu-ray in addition to HD DVD. On the other hand, companies like Blockbuster and Target announced exclusive support for Blu-ray, which means that only BD movies will be available for rent at the former and only BD players will be obtainable from the latter.
The war between two formats caused confusion among consumers, who decided not to acquire any high-definition video player until there is a clear winner. Companies like LG Electronics and Samsung Electronics decided to respond to this confusion with the launch of universal players, which can playback both Blu-ray and HD DVD. As such devices gain popularity, movie studios will have less interest in supporting both formats, which means that going forward companies like Warner Bros may drop either Blu-ray or HD DVD in order to cut-down manufacturing costs.
Among large Hollywood studios HD DVD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.

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