Paramount Home Entertainment, which includes Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation SKG, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films, has announced its decision to use only High Definition DVD, over competing Blu-ray technology.
The decision was made after company research said HD DVDs had the necessary technology on the market, low manufacturing costs and best value and quality for consumers, they said.
On August 28, Blades of Glory kicked off this new program as the first release. Transformers and Shrek the Third follow.
These three movies represent more than $1.5 billion in worldwide box office sales, and company executives believe the sales will keep increasing.
“The combination of Paramount and DreamWorks Animation brings a critical mass of current box office hits to consumers with a line-up of live action and animated films that are perfect for HD DVD,” said Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, the leading studio in domestic box office revenue. “I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount.”
Regular DVD players are hardware-based, while HD DVD and Blu-ray systems rely on software. That means updates and movie extras can be easily downloaded from the web. Even with this similarity, many movie and technology powerhouses support Blu-ray technology since it offers more than five times the storage capacity of traditional DVDs while still having great image quality.
The price between HD DVD players and Blu-ray players, however, is what interests consumers the most. The cheapest HD DVD player retails for approximately $300, while the cheapest Blu-ray devices sell for at least $599.
“We decided to release Shrek the Third and other DreamWorks Animation titles exclusively on HD DVD because we believe it is the best format to bring high quality home entertainment to a key segment of our audience,” said Jeffrey Katzenberg CEO of DreamWorks Animation. “We believe the combination of this year’s low-priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home.”
Paramount Home Entertainment will issue new release dates for upcoming films and will also sell catalog titles in the future. Steven Spielberg films remain uncommitted to either format.
What angers me about this is the face that just as BD seemed to be coming out ahead in the format war, paramount had to make things murky again. I think that you are going to see this happening more and more. While they list technological reasons for the switch, I really think there is a bit of truth to the rumor of a payoff. Companies will just end up paying off studios to support their format. And this is why I hate format wars!