Universal Unveils Big Plans For HD-DVD

Posted Wed Apr 19, 2006 at 10:19 AM PDT
Universal Craig Kornblau Showcases King Kong HD-DVD

With the launch of the HD-DVD format rolling out to stores across the country this week, Universal marked the occasion Tuesday with a press event where the studio showcased its first HD-DVD releases and talked up interactive features it is planning for upcoming titles.

Video Business reports that Universal plans to begin releasing new HD-DVD titles this fall day-and-date with their standard DVD counterparts. The studio is also planning "hybrid" releases that will contain both an HD-DVD and standard DVD version of a movie on a single disc. The studio hopes the bid will help introduce the next-gen format to mainstream customers, who could purchase the hybrid disc even if they do not yet own an HD-DVD player.

Universal had also created HD-DVD kiosks for retailers that combine players and movies in a display touting the format for consumers. Studio home video pres Craig Kornblau was on hand at the press event to show off the kiosk, which was playing clips from the studio's upcoming 'King Kong' HD-DVD release. Kornblau also outlined Universal's commitment to creating cutting-edge interactive features exclusive to the format on future HD-DVD releases.

"The next phase [of HD-DVD] will be a more robust personal interactive experience," Kornblau said, also adding that standard DVD features are "yesterday." Kornblau also said that Universal's next-gen HD bonus content will fully integrate online interactivity into the movie watching experience, "opening up new promotional opportunities" for studios by allowing HD-DVD users the option to learn more about on-screen items in a movie and even make purchases online.

One example of HD bonus content Kornblau illustrated was for the studio's upcoming day-and-date release of 'Fast and the Furious: Toyko Drift' due later this year. Viewers could connect to the internet via the player, "trick out" a car seen in the film, then reinsert their creation back into the movie. Users could also click on the tire of a car seen in the film, then go online to purchase it and other related products.

Though Universal's initial three HD-DVD releases, 'Serenity,' 'Apollo 13' and 'Doom' do not contain bonus HD content, the studio's next wave of disc releases beginning May 23 will include some titles with HD exclusives, including 'Bourne Supremacy' and 'Jarhead.' Visit our comprehensive HD-DVD Release Schedule for the most recent disc details available.

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