In an early evening press conference from CES, Warner Home Video today previewed its groundbreaking Total HD Blu-ray/HD DVD combo disc, and promised to deliver its first dual-format releases in the second half of 2007.
The hybrid format, which Warner is officially dubbing a "Total Hi Def" disc, was pioneered with the aim of bridging the two competing formats. The studio said that while Warner has found that both Blu-ray and HD DVD are pleasing early adopters with top-notch picture and sound, the format war continues to create apprehension in mainstream consumers.
"The Total Hi Def disc is about giving consumers complete choice, providing creators and artists the greatest possible distribution of their work, and helping retailers thrive in the marketplace," said Kevin Tsujihara, President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, in a statement via press release. "By eliminating potential apprehension over formats, we believe this new disc could help consumers fully embrace the greatest home entertainment experience available."
Tech specs for the hybrid disc are strong, and should ease fears that Warner's combo strategy might sacrifice storage space or quality. The physical structure of the disc is 1.2 mm, the same as standard-def DVDs, HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The Total Hi Def disc also has the ability to contain both single layer and dual layers for both formats enabling either 15 GB or 30 GB on the HD DVD side, and 25 GB or 50 GB on the Blu-ray side.
Though Warner made no formal announcement of titles or street dates, they did pledge that their first Total Hi Def releases will be available in the second half of 2007. Titles will also be announced "in a time frame consistent with the company’s standard trade announcements for home entertainment titles," according to the release.
Warner's pricing strategy for Total Hi Def was also unavailable at presstime.
This is certainly a major development in the format war, and the second half of 2007 should bring yet another new chapter in the next-gen saga. We can't wait -- and as always, stay tuned for the latest as this story continues to develop...