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back to article Paramount, DreamWorks rip up HD DVD release list

Paramount has confirmed its last ever HD DVD releases will go on sale in the States on Tuesday, 4 March. From then on, it's DVD and Blu-ray Disc only. And DreamWorks Animation has clearly had word from Toshiba: it's knocking its HD DVD release schedule on the head too, including the Bee Movie disc, originally due to go on sale …

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Why the hurry?

Presumably they've already spent a lot of money on getting the releases ready and the discs have already been pressed. Why not go ahead and try to recoup some of the cost?

There's still a lot of HD DVD players out there still. Looks like the current releases are all there's going to be.

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Coat

Speeling

If they no longer manufacturer the hardware, will they no longer be a hardware manufacturerer?

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Gates Horns

re:Why the hurry?

They obviously havn't had the discs pressed yet, which is why they are canned, better spend the time re-authoring them for Blu-ray. Obviously the main feature encodes are still good (as HD DVD and Blu-ray can use the same codecs), rejig the menus to be BD-J rather than HD-i and you are good to go...

Apparently, studios now have some nifty BD-J authoring tools sets in theri hands, making basic disc authoring trivial.

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jai
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re: why the hurry?

i suspect there is some accounting-magic that can be done.

they'll be writing off the loses incurred by cutting off the hd-dvd releases so quickly, and that probably means they can report better figures in annual reports. or such write-offs are tax deductable or some other arcane accountancy skullduggery

also - the discs may have already been pressed, but there are a lot more costs involved in getting them to market - the packaging may not be done yet, then there's distribution costs and marketing costs etc etc possible all that has been already been produced can easily be recycled, etc..

the cost of disc manufacturing could be negligable compared to the cost of completing the process of getting them to the shops - and even then, there's no guarentee they'll sell at all now that there's so much press about how HD-dvd is dead

i just want Paramount to hurry up and re-release Transformers on blu-ray

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Why the Hurry?

Everything HD DVD is being heavily discounted at the moment. It doesn't look good for a brand-new film release to go straight into the Woolworths bargain bucket!

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Personally I think...

I reckon all exclusivity agreements should be considered void. Now that's there's effectively no competition, stopping HD DVD users from seeing the latest blockbusters is unnecessary. The "Bluray" camp should now be free to offer HD DVD versions where there is demand.

The market is split and both halves need serviced. The running down of HD DVD plants is inevitable, but I'm sure there are enough HD DVD players out there to justify release of the top 10% of films on the format for another year or two.

As it is, it's not just Toshiba abandoning the market -- all studios are leaving their (potential) punters in the poo....

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Happy

Re: James Bassett

"Everything HD DVD is being heavily discounted at the moment. It doesn't look good for a brand-new film release to go straight into the Woolworths bargain bucket!"

ESPECIALLY when the same film on Blu-Ray will still be retailing at full price - I'd like to see the scenes in HMV where a clueless member of staff tries to explain to a clueless punter why THIS Hi-def copy of <insert film name> is £20 more than THIS hi-def copy...

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Arrrrrrgh!

"Anonymous Coward" - God save me from the 'reckoning' of fools ... i could sit here and write a long comment on why that's such a foolish thing to hope for but suffice to say this;

You gambled on a HD DVD player. You lost. Toshiba gambled on HD DVD and they lost. They let it go after spending billions, now it's your turn.

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Paris Hilton

Bargain

I'm reminded of the old story about Atari taking millions of unsold copes of its ET 2600 cartridge (some tellings include the awful version of Pac-Man) and simply burying them in the ground, because it was cheaper than having to ship them to the shops, which did not want them in any case.

What's the HD-DVD library like? If there are hundreds and hundreds of titles this might be a good chance to snap up a bargain - a player and a hunk 'o' hi-res Citizen Kanes and Bladerunners and Days of Heavens for twenty quid sounds good.

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Paris Hilton

re: Personally I think...

Personally, I think you are a little crazy. No studio is going to put out any movies to service the existing HDDVD hardware owning public, ESPECIALLY not a member of the Blu-Ray camp. Get a PS3, it comes with a free BD player.

Paris because she might have said something similar.

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Heart

Compensation

So DreamWorks was "well-compensated" for backing HD DVD. Now of course this isn't surprising, and it's no better or worse than people like Intel paying for 90% of PC World's TV advertising costs as long as they feature Intel kit and the swirl, but it surely is a distortion of the free market. A bribe, if you will.

Presumably both camps were at it; and presumably both camps fully intended to make enough moolah from disc sales to more than cover such costs of marketing. But are we as consumers happy that the Blu-ray discs that we will be buying are even more expensive than they might have been simply as a result of this game of chicken having been played by manufacturers and distributors? They will talk about recouping costs, but far too much of the cost isn't R&D, it's bribes.

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Jobs Horns

Katzenberg needs to wake and sniff, the coffee is fresh!

Dreamworks and Paramount are sore losers here, and they're acting like it. There is no reason for them to drag their feet on Blu-Ray releases. They've done BD releases before, the movies are already HD encoded for the HD-DVD releases and the box art is done except for a few logo replacements here and there. How long does it take to slap together some java based menus? You can't tell me that they weren't working on BD releases in the background even while being exclusive to HD-DVD for a while.

So why take so long in getting new BD releases out there? Why make all these coy statements about having agreements of exclusivity? Those agreements are surely void now, and if not I would be shocked if Toshiba didn't release them from any obligations. Yet Katzenberg still feels obligated to refrain from BD releases until the summer? Doesn't add up.

Ah, well it doesn't add p until you notice one thing. Microsoft. Was the agreement for exclusivity more of an agreement not to release anything in Blu-Ray? And was Microsoft a party to the agreement? If so, then Toshiba killing HD-DVD and backing away is all fine and well, but the agreements signed may still hold water because Microsoft has zero interest in seeing Blu-Ray succeed. They'd rather see Downloads take hold since that is what they have wanted from the beginning. Now, downloads have their own problems, not least of which is that the absolute majority of consumers in the US and UK do not have access to the broadband speeds needed for anything even approaching HD content streaming. However Microsoft doesn't care about that, it wants control of the living room, and download is core to that because it takes the content off optical discs and puts it on their Windows systems or Xboxes. In the CE space there are hundreds of DVD/BD player makers and make production companies pressing discs. So no one company has a monopoly over things. No matter what people think or say, Sony does not own Blu-Ray, whereas Microsoft most definitely owns Windows and Xbox and Live....

Ah yes, it all makes more sense now. Paramount and Dreamworks are beholden to Microsoft still and cannot get out of their agreement until June. Apparently the contract doesn't stipulate that they have to release new HD-DVDs, but perhaps it prevents new BD releases. Yep, it makes much more sense now.

God, how I hate Microsoft. Now you know why the icon is chosen.

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Gates Horns

@Highlander

Are you sure you picked the right icon? If you hate microsoft, then why do you put Steve Jobs with horns? How about this icon here?

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@Highlander

Good god, I hate being ADD and having run out of my medication....

"In the CE space there are hundreds of DVD/BD player makers and make production companies pressing discs."

Shoulda, coulda read;

"In the CE space there are hundreds of DVD/BD player makers and DVD/BD disc production companies pressing discs."

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You just don't get it.....

The whole HD disk saga is yet another instance of corporate imperatives driving the market rather than the other way around. Look around you and you'll see countless examples of this, from Vista being a PoS that had to go out "to make the numbers" to the brush off any time you try to talk to a company's customer service. Whatever we can say about the disk technologies from a consumer's perspective HD-DVD is a better option because its cheaper -- it delivers the same package as BluRay but at a lower price point. It didn't suit the corporate policies, though, so it had to go. Now we all as consumers are going to pay the price. We'll pay again when the corporate people discover that there's still no big rush to high definition disks and they'll probably do what they do with the in-store demos where they show you on a split screen SD and HD -- they deliberately degrade the HD picture (you can see the artifacts, you don't get them in a normal conversion). (I've got my suspicions about 'upconverting' DVD players...)

The point is, do you want to be just grist for the corporate mill? Do you want to accept sub-par performance, extra costs, websites that don't work, degraded experiences -- basically a whole bunch of second rate tat just because you've been sold it as "new and better"? A lot of modern technology is crap, its designed to reduce your choice and turn you into a subscriber, somebody that can reliably contribute to the corporate revenue stream.

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Stop

re: Delay on releases

What about capacity? Maybe there is a big queue for BR discs, especially for long runs. And of course there must be contract stipulations on priority for production, so maybe there's nothing too bizarre about the delays from these BR newcomers.

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Gates Horns

@Fritz

See, attention deficit disorder and no Adderall makes a very long day at work, and a very disorganized mind....

You're right of course, it should have been his Bill-ness with the horns.

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@ martin usher

and your point is?

Sadly those big evil corporate monstrosities are providing the entertainment I want to see, the food I want to eat, run the places I want to stay, build the train that takes me to my corporate wage slave job so I can do all of those things.

Should I instead become a homeless person so I don't have to live in a corporate world?

They're here to stay. You can't do anything about it. Play the hand you've been dealt, not the hand you wish you had.

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Joke

Wow, wouldn't you know...

... people have stayed on point and not turned it into an anti Sony rampage! Miracles do happen.

Martin Usher thanks for giving me a welcome break from all the HD-DVD vs BR posturing we normally see. Good old fashioned paranoia rants, you just can't beat em for entertainment!

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So, why the rush.

I bought my first DVD player for The Fellowship of the Ring.

I think I can at least wait until The Hobbit before I invest in any sort of HD video.Most of the big movies of the moment just aren't worth it.

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Pirate

I'll upgrade to BD...

...WHEN I see that the DRM has been reliably cracked, you can burn region-free and DRM-free BDs, and the BDs play on any BD-capable computer or player with no problems. Until I see that, I won't be following the sheep.

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@Steve - I'll Upgrade to BD...

Erm... DRM?? Where?? I've not seen any on my discs... and as for being able to play them trhough a BD Drive in a computer.... welll.. again, seems like a load of Mis-information from Steve Roper..

Thin you've already followed the sheep already Steve! go back to sleep and read another useless article about it..

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Mis-information *again*?

Perhaps, Mr. Gutless Anonymous Coward, you might care to point out where (or where else) I've provided mis-information? Sounds like you have a bit a crusade going against me from the tone of your comment. Not that I care about your anonymous opinion, but you might want to shore up what little credibility you have with some facts.

My experience, and that of my friends, with BD has been less than impressive. One, a musician, put his clips on a BD only to find it would only play in the drive he burnt it on. A movie I was sent from England won't play here because the regioning hasn't been cracked yet. Until this bullshit is sorted, I stand by what I said.

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