updated 01:25 pm EST, Thu January 10, 2008
Universal HD DVD Expiring
Universal's obligation to support HD DVD alone has already ended and may see Blu-ray titles soon, according to a claim by the Hollywood magazine Variety. Though not hinting at its sources, the publication's online edition says that Universal's commitment "has ended" and that the studio can publish Blu-ray titles at any time. A run of multiple promotions is likely to keep the studio producing HD DVD titles for the next few months, according to the report. However, no details have been provided as to whether Universal will opt to release movies in both formats or remain with HD DVD alone until the promotional campaign is over.
The report also echoes recent allegations that Paramount can opt out of HD DVD at any time through a special clause in its contract with HD DVD supporters which is said to allow an exit when a clear majority of studios are signed on to an opposing standard. Such conditionswere created last Friday when Warner Bros. announced its switch to Blu-ray just days ahead of this year's Consumer Electronics Show, where HD DVD was expected to feature prominently. Paramount remains publicly committed to HD DVD but is reportedly waiting for the right conditions to announce its own switch.
The ability of Toshiba and other supporters of HD DVD will have the opportunity to maintain the disc standard is doubtful, Variety notes. Though Toshiba has promised to continue support, retailers may begin scaling back the amount of shelf space dedicated to computers, movies, and players that support the format. The full effect on the industry is not expected to be felt until June at the earliest, when Warner says it will begin releasing movies only in Blu-ray versions.