HD DVD Buys a Victory

Paramount and DreamWorks take sides in the format war with Blu-ray.

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There was hope recently that the format war in high-definition disks might be ending. Forget it. We're in this for the long haul after the announcement this week that Viacom's Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation would exclusively support HD DVD. That's the competitor to Blu-ray, whose HD disks appeared to be winning the war.

Blu-ray disks are outselling HD DVD and have the exclusive backing of more studios. And Blockbuster recently said it would not even bother stocking HD DVDs in most of its stores. Many of us in the media thought Blu-ray appeared to have a death grip on the market. But some analysts warned that Toshiba had invested too much in HD DVD to go down without a fight against Sony, the primary backer of Blu-ray.

And reports suggest that Toshiba fought back with cash. A blog called Deadline Hollywood Daily says Toshiba paid $150 million to the two studios for them to join its exclusive camp. Toshiba and the studios weren't confirming the payment, or other details of the switch for the studios, which had been releasing movies on both HD formats.

The deal itself isn't enough to save HD DVD. But stay tuned—Toshiba appears desperate to save its format.