Clause in Contract means Paramount can go Back to Blu-ray

Paramount is poised to drop its support of HD DVD after Warner Brothers’ recent backing of Sony’s Blu-ray technology, in a move that will sound the death knell of HD DVD and bring the home entertainment format war to a definitive end. Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, which makes the Shrek films, came out in support of HD DVD last summer, joining General Electric’s Universal Studios as the main backers of the Toshiba format. However, Paramount, which is owned by Viacom, is understood to have a clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp that would allow it to switch sides in the event of Warner Bros backing Blu-ray, according to people familiar with the situation. Paramount is set to have a bumper 2008 with several likely blockbusters, including the latest instalment in the Indiana Jones franchise.

Paramount joining the Blu-ray camp would leave HD DVD likely to suffer the same fate as Sony’s now obsolete Betamax video technology, which lost out to VHS in a similar format war in the 1980s. Warners decision last week to throw its weight behind Blu-ray saw it join Walt Disney, 20th Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer as backers of the Sony format. The Warners move gives Blu-ray about 70 per cent of Hollywood’s output, although the format’s grip on film content will increase further when Paramount comes aboard. It is unclear whether DreamWorks Animation has the same get-out clause in its contract with the HD DVD camp. However, Paramount and DreamWorks have a close relationship, with Paramount distributing DreamWorks Animation films. The two companies also signed their HD DVD contracts at the same time. Meanwhile, Universal has declined to comment on its next-generation DVD plans since the Warners move.

View: Full Story @ Financial Times
Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks bobbytomorow)

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Well... we've had SOME confirmation this morning of the details of the Financial Times story from last night. While the studio isn't yet commenting, reliable industry sources are telling us that Paramount is indeed preparing to end their HD-DVD support and announce a return to the Blu-ray fold. Details are currently being finalized, and an announcement is expected as soon as they're complete. Paramount's first new Blu-rays will almost certainly include many of those titles that were cancelled last year, but that were already packaged and ready for shipping, so you could see them in stores very quickly once the studio announces.

Meanwhile, sources are telling us that Universal has also been talking with the BDA, and is looking to follow Paramount and Warner's lead as soon as possible.

On a related note, Times Online in the U.K. is now reporting that as many as 20 additional firms currently backing HD-DVD are also considering defection in the wake of Warner's Friday announcement, including Fujitsu, Lenovo, Kenwood and Pony Canyon (which is a major Japanese film and music studio).

What's more, word is starting to circulate at CES that major big box retailers will begin winding down in-store support for HD-DVD as soon as these studios go public with their decisions. We're told that the industry's major retail partners are already pressuring Paramount, DreamWorks and Universal to go Blu following Warner's decision.

Rumors are also beginning to circulate here that Apple's Steve Jobs may announce the addition of Blu-ray Disc drives to their Mac desktop lineup at next week's Macworld Expo in San Francisco.

We would caution you to keep in mind that all of this should be considered unofficial until the studios make their actual announcements. Things are moving very fast, and the situation is highly fluid. Still, it really looks like this is the end for HD-DVD, and the end of the format war overall. We'll keep you up to date with new developments as they break.

Stay tuned...

I actually hope this is not true as I personally cannot see the appeal behind the blu-ray format over HD-DVD.

I also cannot comprehend how for moving to a High Definition DVD format, HD-DVD was not the logical choice purely by name alone. It seems the PS3 as a trojan to get a user base for the Blu-ray format seemed have helped.

Perhaps Sony limited the games library for the PS3 so people had to buy bluray movies to get some use outta their expenditure, hence all the PS3 fans saying "wait until next year" etc

Perhaps Sony limited the games library for the PS3 so people had to buy bluray movies to get some use outta their expenditure, hence all the PS3 fans saying "wait until next year" etc :p

That is by far and out the most stupid thing I have heard anybody say on Neowin...ever...

ding dong the wicked witch is dead. but of course if toshiba wants revenge they should make a blu-ray player that significantly undercuts the competition and reduces the profitability of it all.

Well, one of them needs to end, because the only people they hurt in the end is consumers. It makes no sense for consumers to pay £250++ each for a HD-DVD and a Blu-ray player when the industry should be working together to help us. I'd hate to look up on my shelves in a couple of years to see half in HD-DVD and half in Blu-ray cases. Meh.

Anybody got a swan-song?

Well, I really don't care about choosing, they are very similar, but wished for the war to end. One format is all we need.

bolix said,
Well, I really don't care about choosing, they are very similar, but wished for the war to end. One format is all we need.

agreed

I have to ask...am I the only one who doesn't care?

I don't have either format. I'm not likely to start collecting BD or HD-DVD movies/media.

I personally believe dedicated players are a bit past it now with streaming media over network seeming to increase in popularity.

HD-DVD....I NEVER saw any advertising for it...... and i saw tons for BD.

HD-DVD had so much potential and they've lost it because of lack of advertising.

That sucks for HD-DVD. I thought that HD-DVD was sounding more professionnal than Blu-Ray. Anyway, I don't own an HDTV (and won't for a while), so I guess I'll continue using my olde DVDs.

I hope this puts the coffin in HD-DVD. Not that it was a bad format but the stupid format war will finally end. Of course me getting a ps3 last week has nothing to do with my opinion.

I've got to say this is really funny because for so long we've had ppl saying how BluRay was gonna fail just like Betamax did etc....

Where are these ppl now ?? Hiding in a corner ?

Hope you all bought a nice HD DVD player because in a year when no ones releasing movies for it you'll have a nice piece of hardware as a wall ornament :P

Actually a "smart" solution would be for Toshiba to allow Sony to use the HD DVD technology and make it a supported format in the Blu-Ray players. I know this is a LONG shot, if even a shot at all, but it would allow people who own HD DVD movies to move to Blu-Ray.

Or better yet, Toshiba to license Blu-Ray from Sony and produce dual format players

wilbert said,
Actually a "smart" solution would be for Toshiba to allow Sony to use the HD DVD technology and make it a supported format in the Blu-Ray players. I know this is a LONG shot, if even a shot at all, but it would allow people who own HD DVD movies to move to Blu-Ray.

Or better yet, Toshiba to license Blu-Ray from Sony and produce dual format players :cool:

Sony tried to reach a agreement with toshiba almost 18mths ago and it failed.....

And thanks but no thanks do i want HD DVD crap in my Blu Ray players and im sure Sony feels the same.

And i doubt very much after almost winning the battle that sons going to allow toshiba to make dual format players.....Thats just a stupid idea and won't happen.

Face it dude HD DVD is dying....keep paddling along with them if you wish but your going in the wrong direction to the mainstream now :P

Baked said,
Sony tried to reach a agreement with toshiba almost 18mths ago and it failed.....

well duh... back then they had a chance... with this they are running out on a twig now with no where to go but down...

Baked said,
And thanks but no thanks do i want HD DVD crap in my Blu Ray players and im sure Sony feels the same.

You don't want more feature-complete crap in your player?

Alright, whatever. Be ready for more DRM.

I find it quite funny myself. I kept telling the MCSE class that Blu Ray isn't dead yet , but after the $99 sales in October is was in agreement (except me) that Blu Ray is dead. Now that the tables are turned... should be quite interesting to see what happens.

Thankfully after learning the hard way, I'm not in the position to lose money as an early adopter. :)

Frankly I'm really waiting to see where Holographic dvd's go at the end of the year. So I might not get in either boat.

Danrarbc said,

You don't want more feature-complete crap in your player?

Alright, whatever. Be ready for more DRM.

What's the point? If Bluray has won the battle, why the hell would you want pointless HD-DVD stuff? That's like getting a VCR + Betamax player in one. Maybe HD-DVD isn't exactly Betamax yet, but after Bluray's victory, it's clear that HD-DVD is heading down that road. That said, it's not worth the time or cost to manufacture.

I have officially started thinking about returning my HD DVD player. I really don't want to get a PS3, but if it ends up being the cheaper choice, I guess I'll have too.