Paramount first in dual-format support

Written by Geoff Richards

October 3, 2005 | 06:00

Tags: #betamax #dvd #hd-dvd #paramount #vhs

Companies: #blu-ray #sony #toshiba

Paramount Pictures is the first major studio to publicly announce support for both Blu-ray and HD DVD next generation media formats in the latest twist of The Format Wars, according to the NY Times.

The move comes after the Toshiba-led HD DVD consortium and the Sony-led Blu-ray group still refuse to compromise and join together to produce a united successor to DVD. As it stands, both groups plan to release players based on their respective formats this winter, causing consumer confusion and a fractured market.

It is a result that is bad for everyone: retailers are dreading the headache of having to stock two versions of the same film; Hollywood studios and other media groups will want to avoid the cost of releasing titles on the two competing formats. The average consumer won't care about the politics, and there will be even less hope of getting anything-but-socks from Granny for Christmas.

All the major studios have declared their allegiance to a format, as we have previously reported: Twentieth Century Fox and Universal Music join Sony Pictures, Disney and others backing Blu-ray, while Warner Brothers and Universal Pictures are the major players on Team Toshiba and HD DVD.

Now that Paramount have admitted they are hedging their bets, others may step forward to announce cross platform support. If everyone decided to support both formats, arguably any advantage one consortium might have over the other in terms of back catalogue would evaporate instantly, bringing hope that the two groups might finally resolve their differences.

In behaving like a bunch of spoilt children, each team risks being on the losing side, and we all remember what happened in VHS vs BetaMax, don't we? Why risk ending up with 100% of nothing when you can have 50% of the only next-gen format?

Will PlayStation 3's Blu-ray support guarantee Sony of victory, or will HD DVD being first to market give them an edge? Place your bets on the winner of The Format Wars in our Forums.
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