The high-def format war is at DEFCON 2* today, after back-to-back announcements designed to push the opposing camps further up against the metaphorical wall.
First, Paramount announced that it was discontinuing its support for Blu-ray, and would forthwith be releasing its titles exclusively on HD DVD … starting with next week’s release of “Blades of Glory”, apparently, even though there must be thousands of BD versions of that title ready to ship.
No sooner had the industry processed that story — wasn’t the next big twist in the format war supposed to be Universal’s embrace of Blu-ray? — than Fox jumped in with its long-promised list of Fox and MGM Blu-ray releases, scheduled to start appearing in stores in September, right alongside those third-generation players with their enhanced content protection and BD-Java capability.
And Sony just sent out a broadcast release, reminding us journalists that they still support Blu-ray a whole bunch — and that I should note, by the way, that “this announcement comes at a time when Blu-ray is continuing to lead the format war, outselling HD DVD two to one.”
Yes. Yes, it is. But Paramount is releasing DreamWorks’ “Shrek the Third” next month. Exclusively on HD DVD.
I wasn’t a fan of the film, but I imagine people walking into their local Best Future Circuit Shop and goggling at the picture quality of a high-definition “Shrek” movie … and then noticing how cheap the HD DVD players are compared to the Blu-ray units … and then noticing how their children have got all quiet, watching the ogre movie …
Well played, Toshiba. Well played.
(* … yeah, I know “WarGames” used DEFCON 5 as the top end of the scale. “WarGames” was wrong.)