Highly Defined Complications

Are We Blu?For the last few months, the HD-DVD format has enjoyed higher visibility and a wide selection of titles … while its competitor, Blu-ray, has mostly been discussed as a triumph of self-destructing marketing.

Today, though, the tide could start to turn.

Timed to coincide with Sony’s launch of the Blu-ray equipped PlayStation 3, Fox is entering the high-definition market with its first brace of titles: “X-Men: The Last Stand”, “Fantastic Four”, “Speed”, “The Transporter”, “Kiss of the Dragon”, the remakes of “Flight of the Phoenix” (hey, House is in it!) and “The Omen”, the expanded edition of “Kingdom of Heaven” and, um, “Behind Enemy Lines” and “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”.

Now, Fox is decidedly not supporting HD-DVD, meaning that these titles will be available exclusively in the Blu-ray realm. And most of them are genuine blockbusters, rather than the bet-hedging mix of catalogue titles and middling releases that Disney used as its entry into the format (“Dinosaur”? “The Brothers Grimm”? Really? That’s your strongest suit?)

The fine folks at Engadget HD have been keeping a running tally of high-def DVD releases, week by week; according to their latest update, the balance now stands at 114 HD-DVD titles and 97 Blu-ray titles. Some of them are duplicates — Warner’s getting really good at covering both formats, and Paramount now plans to release its major titles on both formats as a matter of course — but most of them are exclusives. The question, in the coming months, is which of those exclusives will pull people towards one format or another?

Say what one will about “X-Men: The Final Stand” — and I’ve said my piece — it’s been a huge seller on standard DVD. Fox’ decision to put it at the forefront of its first Blu-ray wave, along with a selection of other genuine blockbusters, looks like a real commitment to the format.

Of course, some of us are still holding out for that increasingly less mythical combo player … after all, Universal’s titles remain exclusive to HD-DVD, and I really, really want to include “King Kong” in my library.

3 thoughts on “Highly Defined Complications”

  1. The Fantastic Four movie with Jessica Alba really was a let down for me. I loved the cartoon as a kid, but the remake pretty much just sucked.

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