HD DVD group postpones CES press conference
The North American HD DVD Promotion Group was scheduled to run a press conference at CES yesterday but ended up pulling the plug following an announcement by Warner Bros that the studio is dropping support for that format and will now only produce high-def movies for Blu-ray Disc!
In an e-mailed notice of cancellation, the HD DVD group said, "We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps. We believe the consumer continues to benefit from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability – a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format."
Warner Bros, one of the last few studios to be backing both formats, announced last week that as of May 2008, it would be solely backing Blu-ray Disc. To some pundits, this suggests that that HD DVD is now on the brink of defeat and the format war will soon be over.
Barry Meyer, Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, said in an official press release, "Warner Bros.' move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray Disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want. The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers and, most importantly, consumers."
Though a significant development, we're far from sure that Warners' move signals an end to the format war, not while Paramount and Universal are still exclusively producing HD DVD movies.
Nor does Warners' decision necessarily mean that other studios will jump ship. It may even be the case that the HD DVD group will has something up its sleeve that will let it bounce back at CES or soon after.
Whatever the case, if you want to watch the full range of available hi-def movies right now, you're going to have to buy one player of each type or a combi model that play HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.
Of course, others, like your reporter, might instead stick with upscaled DVDs until there is a resolution to the war - or dual-format hi-def players become more affordable.