HD-DVD Comes Out Swingin' with Initial Title Lineup

Posted Thu Jan 5, 2006 at 07:59 AM PST by
Harry Potter Disc Cartoon Image Blu-Ray may have fired the first salvo in the high-def format war at yesterday's CES 2006, but the HD-DVD camp is not backing down from the fight. Universal, Warner, New Line and HBO unveiled their initial HD-DVD offerings today, which appeared to trump Blu-Ray in terms of diversity, day-and-date with DVD support and speed to market, with the first titles expected by mid-March.

While all of the studios supporting either high-def DVD format unveiled about 10 to 20 titles apiece, initial impressions give HD-DVD the edge. The obvious catalog action blockbusters like 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'Matrix' trilogies are there, but so is comedic fare like 'The 40-Year-Old Virgin.' Combine that with strong same-day-as-DVD titles as 'Superman Reborn' and 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire,' and it makes for a strong opening blitzkrieg. Having HBO under the Warner umbrella also means TV DVD will be better represented than it has been with Blu-Ray, with HBO pledging such top shows as 'The Sopranos' and 'Deadwood' by year end.

HD-DVD's showing was also boosted by the first genuine surprise of CES 2006: the newly-formed Weinstein Co. announced exclusive HD-DVD support. With an upcoming lineup of titles including 'The Matador,' 'Scary Movie 4,' 'Young Hannibal,' 'The Passion of the Clerks,' that's nothing to scoff at.

However, Blu-Ray has a counterpunch of its own still left for CES 2006. Disney will unveil their exclusive plans for the Sony-backed format with a gala event tonight, which could tip the scales back in the Blu-Ray's favor.
Tags: TV DVD, Weinstein Co., HBO, Universal, Warner (all tags)