Universal, the only big Hollywood studio that is exclusively backing HD-DVD in the next generation DVD format war, is about to go multi-format, German technology magazine publisher Heise claims.
The publisher of the well-respected technology magazine ´c't´ has heard rumours that Universal will be publishing their movies on both HD-DVD and Blu-ray in the near future. The rumours originate from the rival Blu-ray camp.
At a press event, staff representing the Blu-ray supporter Pioneer have claimed that Universal Home Entertainment has withdrawn from the exclusivity contract with the HD-DVD camp, i.e. its biggest hardware partner Toshiba. The studio is claimed to have terminated the agreement already, while this has yet to come into effect.
Currently, 20th Century Fox, Disney and Sony are exclusively backing Blu-ray, while Warner and Paramount (including Dreamworks) are supporting both formats.
According to the article, Universal had reaffirmed its support for HD-DVD in January and announced 100 new releases for 2007. The company´s corporate page is currently offline.
It might make sense for the studio to go multi-format, Heise claims. Between January and mid-March this year, Universal had 35,6 percent of the HD-DVD market, but only 11,1 percent of the overall market (HD-DVD and Blu-ray together). The market leader is Warner, who is selling well on both formats, the magazine publisher writes.
The source of this rumour - the Blu-ray camp - is naturally biased and not all too reliable. However, it seems to make sense for Universal to go multi-format. And if they do, this move would effectively end the format war.
Further, if Blu-ray wins, Sony´s dangerous gamble with the PlayStation3 will pay off. The console, though more expensive, will have a unique selling point that its competitors cannot match.
EDIT Universal has issued an official response, courtesy of Engadget HD:
Craig Kornblau, the President of Universal Studios Home Entertainment tells us in an email that the rumors that Universal will support Blu-ray "are totally false".
Source: Heise (German)
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