CES hasn’t even started yet, and the biggest news of the event just broke on Engadget: Warner Home Video is going Blu-ray exclusive.
As of May — right around the time “I am Legend” comes to DVD, if I’ve got the math right — the studio will cease releasing high-def titles in the HD DVD format. But read a little further down in the press release, and you’ll see an extra blade in the red format’s heart: The HD DVD titles released before the shift will follow the standard and BD versions into stores “after a short window”.
Unless Toshiba has a rabbit in its hat — a rabbit even more impressive than $99 players for Boxing Day — this is it. All HD DVD has left is Universal and Paramount, and pickings for the first quarter of the year are kinda slim in the big-wow department.
I mean, yeah, Universal’s got “American Gangster” in February, and Paramount has “Zodiac” this Tuesday and “Into the Wild” and “Things We Lost in the Fire” coming in February, but I don’t see any of those as massive sellers — “Gangster” will do well, and “Zodiac” might, but they’re not exactly the kind of popular effects-fests that drive high-def purchases. And people have already owned “Zodiac” on standard DVD for months.
No, I suspect this is a big deal. Warner’s a huge content provider, and though they’ve been unconsciously dissing Blu-ray with packaging and authoring screw-ups over the last few weeks, this is a great big game-changing vote.
I never saw it coming. Warner’s review discs of choice are almost always HD DVDs; that seemed to suggest a certain support within the studio, or at least the marketing department.
So much for industry analysis, huh?