In a blow to Blu-ray, Paramount and DreamWorks (including DreamWorks Animation) have dropped support for Blu-ray and is now backing HD DVD exclusively, at least for the next 18 months. This means that this year's big hits like Transformers and Shrek the Third will only be available on HD DVD.
Films by Steven Spielberg will not be included in this deal, and will remain format neutral.
Rob Moore, Paramount’s president of worldwide marketing and distribution, states “What is most important to consumers is how much they are paying, and HD DVD is simply less expensive. Focusing on one format will also allow us to provide better content because we’re not splitting our attention.”
Update: In a further blow to Blu-ray, some previously announced Paramount Blu-ray title have been removed from pre-order, and refunds will be given. These include Top Gun, Face/Off Special Collector's Edition, Jack Ryan Special Edition Collection, Blades of Glory and Next. As of Tuesday 22:45 GMT+10, some of these titles are still available for pre-order on Amazon.com, while others have already been removed from the listings.
In a recent Digital Digest poll, we asked our visitors what kind of HD movies have they purchase already. The result at the time of this news story shows that 30% of those polled have purchased HD DVD discs, while only 21% purchased Blu-ray discs. Our poll result does correspond with HD DVD's lead in terms of dedicated hardware player sales, but only because the PS3 is not included when counting Blu-ray hardware numbers, as not everyone who purchases a PS3 is using it for Blu-ray playback. But looking at movie sales, our poll result is somewhat unexpected, as currently, Blu-ray leads the HD movie sales by 2:1. Please note that our poll is far from scientific, although we have measures in place to prevent multiple voting.
Rumours persist that Microsoft has given financial incentives to Paramount for this somewhat surprising move, althought Microsoft was quick to dismiss these suggestions. “We provided no financial incentives to Paramount or DreamWorks whatsoever,” said Amir Majidimehr, the head of Microsoft’s consumer media technology group.
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