Blu-ray Disc? HD-DVD? Will it ever end?

In a story from Home Media Magazine, it seems that this format war is also hurting the independents.

For example Topics Entertainment was all set to release one of their titles on Blu-ray Disc. Based on its sales lead with HD-DVD, the next generation format seemed like the perfect match for some its "scenic" titles.

This all changed when "Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG dropped their support of Blu-ray, going exclusively with HD-DVD."

"We had a meeting set with Sony DADC the day after the Paramount news was released to the general public," stated Lindsay Collins, DVD product manager for Topics Entertainment. "Sony was coming by to finalize the agreement with us, [but] due to the Paramount news we never saw the agreement, as we backed out right away."

However, even with Paramount making the move that it did with HD-DVD, this really hasn't slowed Blu-ray disc down that much. Based on this recent news, "I'm 99% sure we're going to go with Blu-ray." Collins stated.

"Our No. 1 concern is the cost to author onto either format," he offered. "It's very risky to us because if we put up the money to do this and the other format wins, then we basically just blew a good amount of money."

Basically, despite all the hype, the format war is really a war between the studios with the independents left to decide which way they'll go once things get worked out.

"The Paramount/DreamWorks' decision doesn't affect our long-term plans too much," said Ian Stimler, director of home media sales and marketing for Zeitgeist Films. "It does seem like Blu-ray has all the momentum; however, [the Paramount/DreamWorks decision] may pull everything back to the middle."

"The longer the format wars continue, the harder it is for consumers to know which way to go. It's unfortunate that one clear-cut standard has not yet materialized." Stated Larry Cohen, principal of Westlake Entertainment.

All that said, it isn't like HD-DVD or Blu-ray Disc is bowling people over with its sales numbers for either players or software.

In fact, "Questar, that was set on its first Blu-ray release in the fourth quarter has backed out due to 'slower than anticipated adoption rate for the high-def formats,' according to a Questar spokesman.

Lastly, while some see Paramount's decision as making the format war last longer, others think that it might actually end sooner now.

"I'm hoping that their decision will help bring this controversy to a swifter conclusion," offers Larry Brahms, president of MTI Home Video. "Very little will affect us directly other than a definitive winner of the day."

Evan Jacobs at Movieweb
Evan Jacobs