Paramount is now HD DVD exclusive

August 21, 2007 | 12:44

Tags: #bd #blu #definition #dreamworks #exclusive #hd-dvd #high #media #movie #optical #paramount #ray #transformers

In a massive blow to the Blu-ray camp (although, expect the blue team to inevitably claim otherwise), the Paramount Motion Picture Group has today confirmed that in future it will be HD DVD exclusive.

This means that if you were waiting for Transformers or Shrek on Blu-ray Disc, you're out of luck. However, Spielberg movies will still be multi-format though, because they're special.

You can read the statement over at Viacom, which owns Paramount and Dreamworks, and if you fancy a look at some opposing views (and a laugh at some fanboys) try reading the comments about the story at Blu-ray.com and HD DVD.com.

In the statement, Viacom has stated that all Paramount, Dreamworks, Nickelodeon and MTV movies will now all be exclusive to HD DVD. This will start with Blades of Glory and then the next films in the line will be Transformers and Shrek the Third.

Thankfully for Blu-ray Disc adopters the decision won't be retro-active, in that current Blu-ray movies from Paramount and Dreamworks will still continue to be sold.

One of the key features that Viacom is stating is, of course, the lower manufacturing costs associated with HD DVD, as an HD DVD disc can be stamped using small upgrades to facilities that already make DVDs. Blu-ray, on the other hand, requires massive investments to pay for the new machinery that's required to print Blu-ray Discs.

Also cited is the lower priced HD DVD players and the unique features of HD DVD like Picture in Picture function, which was the deciding factor for many with the dual format 300 movie.

Of course, that's not saying Blu-ray Disc is without unique features of its own, but the statement is full of the usual tit for tat arguments that have been continually prevalent in the format war to date. What is significant is that it means the mainstream audience will be completely divided again - with Sony, Apple and Disney firmly behind Blu-ray, it means the average family with less disposable income will now be split between Disney and Dreamworks, Sony and Paramount. The inevitable outcome? Families stick with DVD.

Michael Bay isn't too happy mind; in a forum post on his official blog entitled, "Paramount pisses me off", he lays into Paramount, "I want people to see my movies in the best formats possible. For them to deny people who have Blu-ray sucks! They were progressive by having two formats. No Transformers 2 for me!"

Bay is clearly a man that gets straight to the point, no less. As much as you might love or hate Bay, you can't argue he isn't behind the fans with his support for both formats. Openly claiming that he won't be doing Transformers 2 might be a big problem for Paramount, especially considering the weight put behind his name in the trailers for the first one. Maybe he can cut a deal like Spielberg?

As usual there is some hint of a rumour of money and Microsoft, as it has supposedly paid Paramount $50 million and Dreamworks $100 million for the exclusivity deal. It would be somewhat unsurprising considering Microsoft's commitment to HD DVD with VC-1 and the Xbox 360 add-on drive. However if it's willing to spend money on HD DVD, why it didn't spend cash integrating an HD DVD drive into the Elite or another 360 SKU to compete with the PS3 we are unsure.

Yet another thing to stop you from upgrading to high definition? Or more weight than ever for you to buy that HD DVD drive? Will we end up with a DVD-A/SACD fiasco where no-one wins and no-one invests into it? Whether you have a strong opinion or If you just want to laugh at fanboys of an optical format, let us know in the forums.
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