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CES NEWS: Will Paramount drop HD DVD too?


Are we really about to see the end of the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray, asks Andy Clough?

Following the decision by Warner Bros to drop HD DVD in favour of Blu-ray, there is growing speculation that Paramount may be the next major Hollywood studio to switch to Blu-ray.

Currently Paramount and Universal are the last two major studios still supporting HD DVD, but reports in today's UK media are fuelling speculation that Paramount may be considering switching its support from HD DVD to Blu-ray.

A Paramount spokeswoman told today's Guardian newspaper that the company's "current plan" still involved HD DVD, but as the HD DVD group cancelled its press conference at CES in Las Vegas earlier this week, it appears the HD DVD camp has been thrown into disarray by the Warner Bros decision.

One things for sure: whenever the consumer electronics industry develops two rival formats, confusion reigns and consumers (quite understandably) are afraid to buy.

We nearly had two formats when DVD was born, with Sony/Philips backing the rival MMCD (Multimedia CD) format and others DVD.

Fortunately the bosses of the Hollywood studios banged heads together and common sense prevailed. DVD went on to become one of the most successful format launches of all time.

Anyone remember MiniDisc and Digital Compact Cassette? I do. Neither still exists. And let's be frank, neither DVD-Audio nor SACD have exactly set the music world alight.

I've no axe to grind here, and no particular desire to see HD DVD fail, but I do think having one high-definition video format rather than two will be better for everyone.

Consumers will be able to buy with confidence, the studios will only have to release films on one HD format (with all the cost savings that implies) and hardware manufacturers will have the confidence to bring a wider range of products to market.

Come on Paramount, make a decision and put us out of our misery. We're all waiting.

Technorati Tags: Blu-ray, HD DVD

Andy Clough

Andy is Global Brand Director of What Hi-Fi? and has been a technology journalist for 30 years. During that time he has covered everything from VHS and Betamax, MiniDisc and DCC to CDi, Laserdisc and 3D TV, and any number of other formats that have come and gone. He loves nothing better than a good old format war. Andy edited several hi-fi and home cinema magazines before relaunching whathifi.com in 2008 and helping turn it into the global success it is today. When not listening to music or watching TV, he spends far too much of his time reading about cars he can't afford to buy.