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EU grills movie studios on HD exclusives

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue July 3, 2007

EU grills studios on HD

The European Commission is investigating the legality of current HD formats in the continent. According to the Associated Press, Disney, Fox, Sony and Universal are being probed, because each will only release HD movies in a single format -- the first three exclusively in Blu-Ray, with Universal alone choosing HD DVD. In theory any or all of the studios could be breaking antitrust law, which is notoriously firm in Europe. Some recent US companies brought under a microscope include Apple and Microsoft. There is no immediate danger of legal action against the movie companies, however.

"We are currently fact-finding," comments European Union spokesman Jonathan Todd, "and have sent requests for information to a number of Hollywood studios. It is not a formal investigation." Todd further explains that no complaints are behind the inquiry, and it is merely asking for replies by July 6th.

The ongoing conflict between HD formats has caused considerable problems for adoption and the industry as a whole. Because many movies such as "Casino Royale" and "King Kong" are available only on one format or another, many buyers are holding out on HD players, preferring to play it safe with standard DVD systems. This has led to sometimes dramatic solutions, such as hybrid players and discs.

Studios that do release movies on both Blu-Ray and HD DVD include Paramount and Warner Brothers.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. chadpengar

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2001

    0

    EU wouldn't know antitrus

    if it hit them in the head. This is ridiculous. Unless there is some sort of behind the scenes deal making this is preposterous. Are they going to go after people who make Windows (or Mac) only software since it only runs on one platform, limiting choice?

  1. jabber

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2007

    0

    Cartel agreements

    "if it hit them in the head. This is ridiculous. Unless there is some sort of behind the scenes deal making this is preposterous. Are they going to go after people who make Windows (or Mac) only software since it only runs on one platform, limiting choice?"

    Umm...did you read the article? That is why they are going in with discovery, to *see* if there's any anti-competitive behavior. Very bad analogy to computer software as well, since disparate programmers don't have monopolies or cartel arrangements not to ship for other platforms. That's simply a barrier to entry that the free market solves.

    If there are exclusionary contracts from companies with vertical businesses like Sony, that's a restraint of trade issue in contradiction with the free market and leads to increased prices. I don't see why any CONSUMER would have an issue with fact-finding on that.

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