updated 08:35 am EST, Tue January 8, 2008
Paramount May Return to BR
Film studio Paramount is likely to return to the Blu-ray camp after Warner's highly publicized abandonment of HD DVD, according to sources reportedly in touch with the Financial Times. Those "familiar with the situation" claim that the Hollywood firm has a clause that will let it drop its months-long HD DVD contract for exclusivity in the case that Warner defects. This will save the company from having to produce HD movies in the disc format regardless of whether genuine support exists, says the report. DreamWorks Animation, whose movies are distributed by Paramount, may also follow suit.
As late as yesterday afternoon, Paramount spokespeople had drawn attention by noting that the studio would continue to support HD DVD but yet decided against announcing any movies that use the format at CES. The company has yet to comment on the latest speculation.
If announced, a conversion back to Blu-ray would all but end conflict between the rival formats. Warner's backing of Blu-ray has left HD DVD with just 30 percent of the market, split chiefly between Paramount and Universal. The effect has not deterred Toshiba and others from announcing HD DVD-based products at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas but is widely acknowledged as having shaken the confidence of the format's supporters. The HD DVD Promotional Group canceled its keynote for CES shortly after the Warner announcement and has not rescheduled the presentation for later.
Such a move could also hasten the adoption of Blu-ray in computers and movie readers, as manufacturers that are not committed solely to one format (such as Sony and Toshiba) have either had to avoid Blu-ray or HD DVD altogether or else offer both at the same time, such as the option of either standard for HP's new desktops or LG's Super Multi Blu multi-format movie player.