Yet More Studio Woes For HD DVD And More

The hits just keep on coming. Following Warner and New Line Cinema, HBO has announced that they’re also going Blu-ray exclusive, according to High-Def Digest.

Furthermore, despite NBC Universal having a fairly good sized pavilion at CES, Universal confirmed to High-Def Digest that they will not be making any HD DVD title announcements at CES, despite having been expected to do so. The previously couple of years have seen a number of Blu-ray and HD DVD titles announced during CES by the various studios, but this year the HD DVD camp has been silent, while the Blu-ray camp has talked up their future plans. It seems that the hD DVD studios have decided to consider their options before committing to any further announcements.

And the persistent rumors that Paramount and Universal will go neutral, and possibly switch to Blu-ray, just won’t go away. They got more fuel today from Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits:

We remain convinced that both Paramount and Universal are moving towards announcing Blu-ray Disc support soon, and we have real reason for that belief, not the least of which is that our sources in this situation are second to none – a fact which should be readily obvious by now. Announcements could happen tomorrow, they could happen next week, they could happen next month. We’d be surprised if it took longer than a month or two. We’re hearing that Universal may not announce until February at the earliest, as we’re given to understand that their contract period with the HD-DVD camp expires at the end of January.

There is even more at the site. Bill is well connected in the industry and he’s had the scoop on a number of issues in the past, so I wouldn’t write off what he has to say too easily. (Via EngadgetHD.)

And the LA Times is reporting that Warner’s move did trigger an exit clause in Paramount’s exclusivity contract with HD DVD.

Warner Bros.’ decision last week to start making movies exclusively for Blu-ray players, rather than HD DVD, triggered an “out” clause in Paramount Pictures’ contract with the HD DVD camp. An industry source said there was a significant possibility that Paramount would exercise that clause. It plans to decide within a month.

It seems they noticed something that I had made note of myself as well:

That enthusiasm appears to be shared by the show’s attendees, who flocked to the numerous Blu-ray displays on the show floor. The numbers were noticeably thinner at similar HD DVD displays.

The Blu-ray and HD DVD pavilions are neighbors – right across from each other. When I hit them on Tuesday I found the Blu-ray pavilion jam-packed. Just navigating through it was rough because of the people packed in watching all the demos, talking to reps, etc. And when they ran their regular demos, on a sweet 103″ Panasonic flat panel, they were well attended, with pretty much all the seats full and people standing around the edges. It was very lively and the energy level was up, even though it was late in the day and everyone was pretty tired by that point.

Conversely, the HD DVD pavilion felt like a ghost town. It was mostly empty. People just kind of meandered around – wandered in and out. There was nothing exciting to see. Unlike Blu-ray, showing off a slew of upcoming players, demos of upcoming titles, etc, there was nothing new in the HD DVD booth. The players on display were existing units. Frankly, the booth was boring. The energy and excitement level was zero – and it was very noticeable with the noise of the BD booth clearly audible from across the way.

To rub salt in the wound, just by coincidence (I asked) the demo area of the BD booth, with that 103″ screen, pointed right at the HD DVD booth. So the entire show all the demos BD is running on a regular basis are blasting the HD DVD booth. Ouch.

About MegaZone

MegaZone is the Editor of Gizmo Lovers and the chief contributor. He's been online since 1989 and active in several generations of 'social media' - mailing lists, USENet groups, web forums, and since 2003, blogging.    MegaZone has a presence on several social platforms: Google+ / Facebook / Twitter / LinkedIn / LiveJournal / Web.    You can also follow Gizmo Lovers on other sites: Blog / Google+ / Facebook / Twitter.
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  • Chris Bell

    This is my first time visiting this site, and I may just not be in the loop, but do the format wars have any special relevance to TiVo? Is there some TiVo-HD agreement I don’t know about?

    You may just be posting on the format wars (which is interesting, don’t get me wrong) I was just surprised to see this as the first article and I wonder if there is a subtext I am missing.

  • MegaZone

    Chris – While the site started out focused on TiVo, hence the name, it grew to cover other areas as well – other DVRs, Blu-ray & HD DVD, etc.