In 2005, Toshiba secured exclusive backing for their HD-DVD hi-def video format from such prominent film studios as New Line Cinema, Paramount, Time Warner, Universal Studios, and Viacom.Â Today, Universal stands alone as the sole exclusive supporter for the HD-DVD format.Â The other major studios who originally backed HD-DVD, will continue to release home video content on the HD-DVD format, but have also adopted the Blu-ray format to hedge their bets.
To clarify Universals position, Ken Graffeo, executive VP, marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment, declared in a published interview,
â€œâ€¦every HD DVD player made has to have an Ethernet port for online connectivity. And every player had software to support unique, interactive viewing experiences either programmed onto a disc or available online.â€
“In Blu-ray, the interactive specs are still just an option. â€¦A lot of their players can’t even support the interactive BD-Java software.”
However on the Blu-ray front, not only did they pick up major support through the adoption of their format by previously HD DVD only studios, but they still have the exclusive backing of studios such as Sony (Sony is a key developer of the Blu-ray format and a major content provider), Disney, MGM, and others.Â It begs the question as to whether Disney and MGM will follow the likes of Paramount and Time Warner to support both formats or will the consortium of support for Blu-ray push Universal to also adopt a two format stance.
The war of formats continues with no end in sight, but the question must also be raised, will it be the studios that will decide the format winner since they provide the content, or will the consumer make the decision based on hardware prices.Â Currently HD DVD holds the advantage in player pricing at $299 compared to Blu-rayâ€™s recent $499 bow for players.Â Only time will tell, but itâ€™s too close to call at the moment.