Thursday, January 31, 2008

Dispatches from the Format War, #4

On August 23, 2007, in Dispatches from the Format War, #3, I reported news of two major movie studios, Paramount and DreamWorks, dropping Blu-ray support entirely and releasing their high-definition disc titles on HD DVD only. On January 4, 2008, news came that Warner Bros. has decided to stop making HD DVD discs and will become a Blu-ray-only studio at the end of May. Click on the image above to read all about this tit-for-tat move.

Because "Warner has a much bigger library of movies than Paramount," the article indicates, the latest move is "actually more of a clubbing." "Does this spell the end for HD DVD?" asks the article's author, David Carnoy. "If I had to give a yes or no answer, I'd have to say yeah, it's probably curtains."

I wouldn't go that far. But another recent article (click the image below) shows that the market share of HD DVD player sales shrank dramatically in the wake of the Warner announcement:

It's "going to be hard (if not impossible) to overcome Blu-ray's momentum," this article concludes.

Toshiba (the parent company of HD DVD) was canny enough to slash player prices the very next week, in an effort to halt the erosion in sales. We can conclude one thing from that: people who bought HD DVD players just one week before paid too much!