It was the HD DVD camp's turn in the spotlight today at IFA (the European consumer electronics trade fair), with several HD DVD supporting companies speaking out at a well-attended press conference.
While yesterday's BDA press conference was heavy on new hardware announcements for the European market, the HD DVD camp took a decidedly different approach, focusing less on new products and more on what its backers see as the format's advantages over Blu-ray.
The centerpiece of the presentation was a brief appearance by Chris Saito of Paramount, the company that famously shook up the high-def format war earlier this month when it announced it would drop support of Blu-ray, and would instead exclusively back HD DVD.
Saito said that his company's decision came after a year's worth of evaluation, and was based on the format being the best value not only to consumers, but to Paramount as well, in terms of cost of replication.
Other speakers at the conference emphasized the format's "ever growing list of worldwide supporters," its affordability, its lead in stand-alone player sales, and its higher attach rates, (4 discs per player, 7 times that of BD).
"The HD format is about stand-alone players, not game systems. We don’t think gamers will buy movies," said HD DVD Promo Group co-chairman Ken Graffeo.
In a direct dig at the BDA, Graffeo pointed to the HD DVD group's mandatory interactive specs, stating that all HD DVD players are required to support the format's advanced interactive features. "Sadly, that's not the case with Blu-ray," said Graffeo. "Many Blu-ray owners will only get advanced features if they buy the next-generation players".
Other highlights from the session:
90 new HD DVD titles will be released between now and the end of 2007, bringing the European total to 400 by the end of the year.
Toshiba will roll out two new HD DVD players to the European market in October, the 1080p/24 HD-EP30 (349-399 euro) and the higher-end HD-EP35 (449-499 euro).
The HD DVD Promo Group's "Five Discs Free" promotion with sales of new HD DVD players will be extended to Europe.