Par's defining moment? Studio chooses HD DVD

Looks to 'long haul'; drops Blu-ray

In a dramatic turn, Paramount Home Entertainment and DreamWorks Animation on Monday vowed exclusive support of HD DVD, a year after declaring they would release movies in both next-generation disc formats (HR 8/21).

The companies said the decision to no longer release titles in the Blu-ray Disc format came after an "extensive evaluation of current market offerings, which confirmed the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs."

Paramount's first next-generation release slated for HD DVD only will be "Blades of Glory," coming Aug. 28, followed in the fourth quarter by "Transformers" and "Shrek the Third."

"We have tremendous momentum because we have the most popular movies coming into the market at the same time as low-price players, so it's a great combination," said Kelley Avery, worldwide president of home entertainment at Paramount Pictures.

"The thing we have to remember is what is the right decision for the long haul. If you look at the market today, only 3 million units have actually been sold in high definition versus billions of units for DVD. We are in a nascent period now, and we think the time is right to get behind one format, and we want to put all our resources and creative talents behind one single format."

The exclusive HD DVD commitment applies to movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films as well as movies from DreamWorks Animation, which are distributed by Paramount Home Entertainment.

The move doesn't quite level the playing field with the favored Blu-ray Disc, but it certainly boosts HD DVD's position in the battle for one unified high-definition disc that will one day succeed standard DVD.