A first step in bringing their TV titles into the high-def arena, CBS has launched a new home entertainment unit to handle DVD, Blu-ray and HD DVD title releases, with the newly-restored original 'Star Trek' series leading the charge.
The company's new division, CBS Home Entertainment, will operate as part of the CBS Paramount Network Television Entertainment Group, and will distribute all upcoming next-gen and standard-def disc releases via Paramount Home Entertainment.
With a stable of over 120 current series and a substantial library of more than 2,600 titles, CBS has an extensive and diverse catalog of television programming to exploit. Some of the company's current shows include 'Jericho' and 'Criminal Minds,' both of which are broadcast in HD, plus such long-running reality shows as 'Amazing Race' and 'Survivor.'
The new unit plans an aggressive increase in their TV on DVD output in 2007, with planned growth of an estimated 20 percent. Though no comparable plans have been announced by the new unit for Blu-ray and HD DVD, the possibilities are still exciting for both of the next-gen formats. That's because with only handful of TV releases thus far on Blu-ray and HD DVD, the platforms continue to be starved for television content.
Though CBS Home Entertainment has not yet announced any official release dates for its first Blu-ray or HD DVD television titles, they did confirm that first out of the gate will be the one series most had already been expecting. After being re-tooled in HD for syndicated broadcast late last year -- complete with all-new effects -- 'Star Trek: The Original Series' will finally make its next-gen debut as an HD DVD/DVD combo sometime in the second half of 2007.
"The reason we chose to do that [an HD DVD/DVD combo] is to give us the ability to make high-definition transfers of the show available to people who don’t yet have high-definition players," Ken Ross, Executive VP of CBS Home Entertainment told The Hollywood Reporter.
A Blu-ray release for 'Trek' has not yet been scheduled, although after contacting Paramount, word to High-Def Digest is that the studio remains fully and equally supportive of both formats. So we can expect to see 'The Original Series,' and all other future CBS titles, on Blu-ray as well.
We'll continue to keep you posted on all CBS Home Entertainment Blu-ray and HD DVD release announcements as soon as they are officially announced. Watch this space!