updated 03:05 pm EST, Tue February 19, 2008
Universal Backs Blu-ray
Universal Pictures today was quick to seize on Toshiba's end to HD DVD by announcing that it would stop producing movies in the now-obsolete format. The news confirms earlier hints and reveals that the movie studio will switch its entire schedule to Blu-ray for HD releases, including both new titles, back catalog releases, as well as movies that were previously available at the higher resolution only on HD DVD. The move is necessary as the format for HD video has "finally become clear," says Universal's digital production chief Craig Kornblau.
The announcement leaves only Paramount still formally attached to HD DVD, though the Hollywood business is expected to make its own statement within hours or days that would commit its own releases to Blu-ray. No word has been received as to the terms under which Paramount will be able to exit its $150 million HD DVD contract, which was used to lock the company into the defunct format when it remained uncertain as to which disc standard would emerge the winner.
Universal is one of the few studios to have produced its movies solely in HD DVD from the outset and has often been considered one of the strongest proponents of HD DVD, making its own switch the most significant outside of Toshiba itself.