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Paramount Joins HD DVD Camp

August 20, 2007 12:27 PM

Looks like HD DVD has decided to fight. The Toshiba format has swung Paramount into its studio camp. Movies released by Paramount and several subsidiaries—including DreamWorks and MTV Films—will be released exclusively in HD DVD format.

The exclusivity deal starts with the upcoming releases of “Blades of Glory," followed by "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third." Paramount joins Universal as the only studio releasing titles exclusively on HD DVD

According to the press release, the deal came about because “the companies each said that the decision to distribute exclusively in the HD DVD format resulted from an extensive evaluation of current market offerings, which confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs.” According to Nikki Finke, the real reason was Toshiba gave Paramount $50 million and DreamWorks Animation $100 million (a Toshiba rep did not returned a request for comment).

Regardless of the reason for the collaboration (tough to imagine Blu-ray’s army of backers aligned under the Sony banner without some financial incentives of their own along the way), this is a significant victory for HD DVD and exactly what they need to try and reverse the stench of doom hanging over their format.

Unfortunately for consumers wanting a decisive victory in time for their holiday shopping, this is a format war Groundhog Day. HD DVD’s deal ensures at least six more months of active fighting between Sony and Toshiba.

Expect Sony, which has not been shy about generating headline victories of their, to retaliate soon. Bet there’s some Wal-Mart executives tied to chairs in a warehouse filled with Blu-ray players somewhere, with Sony henchmen strongly urging they consider ditching those pesky Toshiba titles from their shelves.

UPDATE at 4:25 pm: Responding to Finke's reporting of the $150 million payout, Paramount issued this statement: "The reason we made this decision is simple. After a year of fully experiencing and exploring both formats, we decided to exclusively support HD DVD because of the quality, value and potential the format offers. Beyond that, whenever we conduct co-marketing, production deals or other agreements, we never discuss business terms."

So, that sounds like a big yes, huh?

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Comments (3)

Al:

This is SACD vs. DVD-A all over again, and no one has learned from their failure.

As the music business has so painfully learned, consumers don't care about quality anywhere near as much as they do about ease of use and value. The hi-rez audio format war opened the door for the lower quality MP3 because there wasn't a standard set, and the units were a nightmare to set-up and use thanks to outrageous copy protection demands.

Personally I'm delighted by this news; they have doomed the HD disc. This prolongs the shelf life of my current DVD library until the HD PPV/on demand/download market kicks in.

HD FAN:

No....this does NOT sound like a YES from Paramount.

It sounds like another studio wised up to the fact that the Blu Ray format is littered in flaws, not the least of which is Sonly's arrogance.

The Toshiba Satellite U400/U405 series is a new 13.3" widescreen notebook that weighs in at just 4.85 pounds and packs solid Intel Core 2 Duo Penryn performance and a big hard drive with plenty of storage space. Add to that a stylish chassis covered in Toshiba's new "Fusion" finish, 3GB of RAM, a webcam, and fingerprint reader and this notebook starts looking even better. Toshiba calls this notebook a "compact hero [that] balances working room with carrying comfort." Let's take a look and see if this laptop is as good as it sounds.

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