Paramount and DreamWorks Animation’s stated reasons for going all HD DVD — as in no Blu-ray — don’t make much sense. Most of the mainstream press ate up their press release and left it at that.
A couple of trade journalists nailed down the likely cause: that the HD DVD manufacturers paid the studios something like $150 million to make this stunner of a deal happen. I didn’t see the receipt and Paramount had no comment.
In any case, the demise of the high-definition format war has been called off. This can only mean several more years of format foolishness.
Paramount’s Brad Gray and DreamWorks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg both talked up the affordability of the HD DVD format. True for now, but not for long. Entry-level player prices are headed straight down in both formats. If you can commit to paying $25-$35 or so a pop for titles, the price difference between lower-priced players can’t be all that important. The Blu-ray “300” disc is cheaper than the HD DVD.
Katzenberg said the decision served “a key segment of our audience — families.” Hard to buy that one. If anything, families would be best served by making titles available in the same format that kiddie powerhouse Disney uses.
Another argument for HD DVD over Blu-ray can be found in a quick mention in the press release, which hails HD DVD’s “market-ready technology.”