With the battle of HD DVD formats escalating into the summer, the launch of a consumer-friendly, potentially neutralizing dual-format disc has been delayed.
The decision to delay is a direct result of polar decision making at the other studios. Rather than putting out titles in both formats, most studios are choosing sides. Disney, and Sony Pictures are supporting Blu Ray. Universal is backing HD DVD.
For Total HD dual-format discs to reach market there will need to be a large pool of titles available in both formats. “We need a critical mass of titles to go to retail with so they can establish a section,” explains Steve Nickerson, Senior VP at Warner Brothers.
That “critical mass” hasn’t happened; and it may never. Currently, only Warner Brothers and Paramount Pictures offer their films in both formats. Without support for a dual format disc from the other studios there likely won’t be enough titles to insure retail shelf space. Further, releasing Total HD to the market without industry support, rather than being a help to consumers, could risk adding to consumer confusion about which format to buy or endorse.
At the very least, Total HD won’t be on the market before Q1 2008 … if ever.