Remember Total HD? No? I’m not surprised. Total HD (THD) was developed by Warner Brothers as their ‘solution’ to the Blu-ray / HD DVD war. It is a hybrid disc – HD DVD on one side, Blu-ray on the other. Warner, being one of the two major studios to support both formats (Paramount is the other), saw THD as a way to release one version of their films so as not to have to stock both BD and HD DVD at retail.
Originally, THD titles were to be on shelves this fall. But now Warner is saying they won’t be out until early 2008. That’s after the holiday season, which many people feel may signal an end to the war – obviating the need for THD at all. With Blockbuster’s recent decision to back Blu-ray, and the momentum of BD as the market leader, perhaps Warner decided to cut their losses and wait it out. If BD dominates after the holiday season, it would be an excuse for them to drop HD DVD completely and reduce their costs.
THD isn’t a perfect solution either. The spec as presented limited the BD side to a single layer – 25GB. So it lost the benefits of BD’s 50GB dual-layer capacity. This is close to HD DVDs 30GB max capacity, so it would be likely that one encoding, designed to fit in 25GB, would be used for both sides. This made the format unpopular with knowledgeable consumers even before it hits the streets.
Now that BD+ Technologies, LLC has completed their licensing program for BD+, it looks like the studios have begun to sign up. Their website shows Fox has signed up as a ‘content participant’. Fox, MGM, and Disney have, in the past, expressed support for the BD+ development, and it is widely believed that they’ve been holding back catalog releases pending the availability of BD+. With it now available, we may see even more Blu-ray releases.
Here’s a great editorial from The Digital Bits on why HD DVD can never win this format war – and the only possibilities are a draw (bad for everyone) or BD winning. If you have any interest at all in this format war, and you probably wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t, it is worth a read.
And, finally, some more news on the offer of five free BD titles with the purchase of a player that I posted about yesterday. The official press release hit today with more details. You need to purchase a ‘qualifying’ Blu-ray player between July 1 and September 30, 2007. Then you will be able to select five titles from a list of 21 available titles via a mail-in offer. The titles are:Babel, Black Rain, Blazing Saddles, Chicken Little, The Corpse Bride, The Devil’s Rejects, The Guardian, Hart’s War, Invincible, The Italian Job, Kiss of the Dragon, The Last Waltz, The Omen , Pearl Harbor, The Phantom of the Opera, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Species, Stealth, Stir of Echoes, The Transporter 2 and Underworld: Evolution. The www.bluraysavings.com site will be live July 1st.
The full press release:
Jun 28, 2007 10:17 ET
Major Hollywood Studios and Consumer Electronics Manufacturers Announce Blu-Ray Summer Promotion
Summer-Long Consumer Promotion Ties Into The Growing Momentum For The Blu-ray Disc(R) Format
Campaign supported by major print and online media campaigns
LOS ANGELES, June 28 /PRNewswire/ — Seven of the major Hollywood studios and six top consumer electronics manufacturers today announced the launch of the Blu-ray Disc Promotion, a summer-long promotional program intended to encourage customers to experience the unparalleled high-definition experience that Blu-ray(TM) provides. The promotion gives consumers the opportunity to jump-start their high definition library by receiving five free Blu-ray Discs from a list of over 20 of the most popular titles offered by participating studios when they purchase qualifying Blu-ray players between July 1 and September 30, 2007.
Participating studios include Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Lionsgate Home Entertainment, MGM Home Entertainment, Paramount Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video. Hardware manufacturers include Panasonic Consumer Electronics, Phillips Electronics, Pioneer, Samsung, Sony Electronics and Sony Computer Entertainment.
Consumers who purchase any one of the many qualifying Blu-ray players from participating hardware companies will be able to select five of the following Blu-ray titles, which include new releases and fan favorites. Among the 21 titles in this mail-in offer are: Babel, Black Rain, Blazing Saddles, Chicken Little, The Corpse Bride, The Devil’s Rejects, The Guardian, Hart’s War, Invincible, The Italian Job, Kiss of the Dragon, The Last Waltz, The Omen , Pearl Harbor, The Phantom of the Opera, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, Species, Stealth, Stir of Echoes, The Transporter 2 and Underworld: Evolution.
The promotion will kick off on July 1, 2007 and will be supported by a major print and online media campaign that will also launch in July. This campaign will be seen in such popular print publications as Maxim, GQ, Rolling Stone and online sites such as CNET and Google among others.
The Blu-ray Disc technology has quickly become a leader in the high definition marketplace and is supported by over 170 companies spanning consumer electronics, computers, gaming, music and movie studios. It represents many of the major brands that consumers have grown to love and trust. Brands such as Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Pioneer, Phillips, Warner Bros., Paramount, Disney, Fox, MGM and Lionsgate are just a few that are supporting this revolutionary technology.
For more information on Blu-ray Disc, visit http://www.blu-raydisc.com/. Details on the Summer Blu-ray Disc Promotion will be available starting July 1 at http://www.bluraysavings.com/ or http://www.blu-raydisc.com/.
Source: Blu-ray Disc Association
CONTACT: Andrew Warren, +1-310-526-5512, firstname.lastname@example.org, or
Lindsey Carlin, +1-310-526-5570, email@example.com, both of GCI Group, for
Blu-ray Disc Association
Web site: http://www.blu-raydisc.com/