Report: Universal opts out of HD DVD exclusivity

<i>Variety</i> says major Toshiba high-def video player supporter will not renew its sole support of the format when it expires in May.

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Last week, Warner Bros. shook up the next-gen format war with a seemingly impromptu announcement that it would be abandoning Toshiba's HD DVD high-definition video playback format in favor of Sony's Blu-ray standard beginning in May. The blow to HD DVD was followed by a vicious left hook, when the Financial Times revealed that fellow HD DVD supporter Paramount may capitalize on an out clause in its exclusivity contract with Toshiba that specifically pertained to Warner Bros.' defection.

Though the Viacom-owned Paramount officially continues to stand by its HD DVD exclusivity decision--as does format supporter Microsoft, despite recent reports that Blu-ray support for the Xbox 360 wasn't out of the question--Universal Studios would be the sole major-studio standard bearer for the HD DVD format. However, it now appears Universal may be readying the haymaker that will down Toshiba's video playback standard for the count.

Variety reports that Universal Studios has ended its HD DVD exclusivity deal, though it will continue to only support the format until its current arrangement with Toshiba ends May 31. The report did not indicate whether Universal will exclusively support Sony's Blu-ray format after that date. Speaking to GameSpot, a Universal Studios representative confirmed that, for the time being, the studio will continue to support HD DVD, though they would not say whether Blu-ray support is also on the agenda.

Sony's Blu-ray high-def video player, which is prominently advertised as one of the primary draws of the PlayStation 3, enjoys the lion's share of support from major motion picture studios. In addition to Warner Bros., the Walt Disney Company, 20th Century Fox, and Lionsgate all support the format exclusively. New Line Cinema and HBO, both subsidiaries of Time Warner, also reportedly revealed during the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show that they would follow Warner Bros. as Blu-ray exclusive studios.

Discussion

589 comments
LordSpaz
LordSpaz

I have a 720p Television and I have a PS3. Before I was watching HD TV all day I couldn't tell the difference. If you showed me an HD picture and turned it off, then I turned around and looked at an SD picture, MAYBE I could have seen a difference, but I doubt it. However, if you put in a BluRay (or any HD-DVD, for that matter) disc (I used Cars by Disney) and put the DVD in on another video input it is MIND BOGGLING how much better it looks when you switch video inputs. Now that I've been watching HD TV for over a year, SD TV looks blurry to me. Not unwatchable, but just a little out of focus. So, whoever says the human eye can't see the difference is either a lunatic or has a corporate agenda. If it was in a study, I'd want to see how that study was performed before I trusted it. Don't take statistics at face value, no matter where they come from.

Justforfun44
Justforfun44

"deapcyfer - That's why ESPN and other HD sports is broadcast in 720p, and news stations and such in 1080i. The pixel refresh rate on 1080i is slower, getting a not so cool effect on football games (damn you NBC!) and action movies, like Shoot 'Em Up." I watch 1080i all the time and I have yet to see any of this. ESPN is not very good at 720P. ABC Monday Night Football had the best looking coverage by far, and it was 1080i. 1080i is the broadcast HD standard in the US and I don't think they made it that because of its lower quality. Do some reading you can find numerous articles that state 1080i and 1080p are identical. 720p is not so hot. I didn't buy HD to use 720p.

deapcyfer
deapcyfer

Autolycus....where the hell do you shop? I bought that movie, new at Best Buy for $15 on blu-ray. And as far as manufacturing costs, it is not $0.13 and $3. I hope you people know how intelligent you sound throwing hogwash numbers out there, if you're going to have an argument, at least get your facts straight. I just love how HD-DVD supporters are now all "oh HDM is going to fail because of downloads" Wait a minute? If so, why were you even buying HD-DVD in the first place if downloads are the way of the future? Do you really just hate Sony that bad that you can't concede defeat? Bash them all you want, fact remains that Sony puts out top of the line (most of the time) products, and Blu-ray will be the next gen movie format. Downloads are at least ten years down the road. What happens if my harddrive crashes? Plus, I don't have anywhere near the harddrive space to store my movie collection in HD. As far as 1080i/p goes, if you watch a lot of sports or action, you will tell the difference real quick. That's why ESPN and other HD sports is broadcast in 720p, and news stations and such in 1080i. The pixel refresh rate on 1080i is slower, getting a not so cool effect on football games (damn you NBC!) and action movies, like Shoot 'Em Up.

Justforfun44
Justforfun44

Only about 1 percent of people have moved to HD players so I don't think it's an automatic win for BD.

gin_rummy89
gin_rummy89

I'm still sticking with plain old DVD's.

HsojVvad
HsojVvad

Well if Microsoft was smart, they would give the HD drive to all the 360 owners for free. It is there fault that there was no HD in the origanl xbox, at least PS3 got the Blue Ray. I will not get either, because I am not going to be stuck between the beta\vhs war so I guess who comes out ontop I will get. If I got my HD for free witch should have been included with my 360 I will stick with HD then, other wise it's DVD for me.

Autolycus
Autolycus

RE: APOC. for blu-ray is 45 dollars. NO joke.

Autolycus
Autolycus

its simple, the higher profit margins, associated w/ the price of blu-ray goes to execs of those companies. its not hard to figure out why its $3.00 per every copy of every blu-ray disc made ( manufacture cost ) and its ($.13, yes 13 cents) for every HD-DVD. HD-DVD and blu-ray have the same quality and I know first hand because I know jsut about every single spec on both of the systems. You want blu-ray, you'll get higher prices, there for driving the dollar down. good job...

zorn99
zorn99

Another nail in the HD-DVD coffin. Let's hope the Blu-Ray prices don't start to go sky high. When CD's first came out, they said the reason they were so much more expensive than vinyl albums (about 3 times as much) was because of manufacturing costs - funny thing, the costs never did come down. You don't think the RIAA is trying to rip us off do you?

Digital_Hitman
Digital_Hitman

"So if you said "yes", your just rationalizing the huge purchase you just made. If your thinking about going HD for movies, and TV, get a 720p tv (they are cheaper now) and a upconverting DVD player. Give the $1000s you just saved to starving kids in Africa." -XXMadManVII If you owned a 60 inch plasma with seating positions as close as 3ft way and as far as 10ft you'd be whistling a different tune. There are also other benefits of 1080p such as 1:1 pixel mapping, less processing from 1080i to 1080p...as opposed to 1080p to 768p. Also, seeing as how 1080p is usually a spec of higher end displays, those displays also come with more picture and calibration options. Let's not forget, this whole argument will be mute next year because 720p will be phased out over the couple years as a standard anyway. I also can buy what ever display I want AND donate money. How bout you sell that gaming system and donate that money...no one NEEDS to game either.

glycer67
glycer67

@XXMadManVII Yes, on my 56 inch screen, I can definitely tell a noticeable difference between 720p and 1080i/p (the difference between 1080i and 1080p is negligible to me). While it is true that the difference between 720p and 1080i/p is insignificant on smaller screens (less than 50 inch I believe), on larger screen sizes it makes quite a noticeable difference. The viewing distance from the screen also comes in to play. What you said is true, but only for smaller screen sizes.

orangebrat
orangebrat

[quote]HOWEVER, after HD-DVD is dead, Blu-Ray will be hot on its heels, losing to online-distributed content. Why go out and buy HD movies when you can download them, or your cable company will sell you a digital copy a-la carte, or you can stream it off a pay-per-view site? The same thing that's crippling the music industry right now is going to go after TV and video games next.[/quote] Sorry, isn't going to happen for about a decade or more. Give me the 20-30 thousand worth of equipment (computer, storage, etc) to hold all the movies I own and a connection that's about 5 times faster and we'll talk.

orangebrat
orangebrat

[quote]All of this crap is a scam to get consumers to buy stuff they really dont need. Can you honestly tell me you can see the difference in a 720p picture and a 1080p picture? Or 1080i to 1080p?[/quote] Yes, I can. And, don't tell me what I don't need. And to hell with those starving kids.

ledgic_13
ledgic_13

xxmadmanvii i agree... i need to talk to someone like you who ,can easily see the logic in a situtation. kudos bro.

XXMadManVII
XXMadManVII

All of this crap is a scam to get consumers to buy stuff they really dont need. Can you honestly tell me you can see the difference in a 720p picture and a 1080p picture? Or 1080i to 1080p? Johns Hopkins did a study that concluded that, on average, the human eye cant physically see the difference between 720p and 1080p, and that anything that cycles faster than 60hz is pointless for the same reason. So if you said "yes", your just rationalizing the huge purchase you just made. If your thinking about going HD for movies, and TV, get a 720p tv (they are cheaper now) and a upconverting DVD player. Give the $1000s you just saved to starving kids in Africa.

ignoman
ignoman

For all of you concerned about the format war, here's what's going to happen. HD-DVD is losing right now. Support for it has been waning in recent months, and market saturation has been poor. Blu-Ray's installed user base is growing much more rapidly (on PS3 launch day, 200,000 Blu Ray players were sold in the US. where's HD-DVD?), not to mention Blu-Ray writers and blank discs are also widely available. HOWEVER, after HD-DVD is dead, Blu-Ray will be hot on its heels, losing to online-distributed content. Why go out and buy HD movies when you can download them, or your cable company will sell you a digital copy a-la carte, or you can stream it off a pay-per-view site? The same thing that's crippling the music industry right now is going to go after TV and video games next. Besides... who REALLY cares who wins the format war anyway? If you don't have enough money to get yourself a Blu-Ray and an HD-DVD player, you have NO business upgrading to HD right now in the first place. It's just too darned expensive. If you can't afford both right now, just sit back and see what happens for yourself, and continue to watch regular DVDs like everyone else does. At the end of the day, the "format war" is NOT analogous to the "console war"... they are only indirectly related anyway. So, who cares?

chamber303
chamber303

azhar85: PS3 does not have games? are you blind? 150 titles are not enough for now? 360 had 150 on there 1st year and now they have 300. Heavenly sword, uncharted, resistance, warhawk,COD4, rachet and clank and more are all very good titles. and just because SONY and PS are focusing on blu ray and movies does not make them less productive in gaming, it just means that the PS3 is more than just video games. Which is a good thing. pinthepimp: hd dvd cheaper than blu ray? you serious dude? the prices are the same on all the movies. are you talking about the players? well blu ray is better quality that is why there more expensive and not by much either. And now, the bd players are even cheaper and equal to hd dvd players at 399$ the only cheap hd dvd player does not even give you a full 1080p picture. and it sells for less than a dvd player at 99$. This is for people that do not know anything about HD and get what is cheaper. Poor them.

mrkame16
mrkame16

I think whichever format wins BLU RAY or HD DVD it still has to compete with DVD which, i say we should all just get DVD Upconverters and show not the BLURAY OR HDDVD camps but the MOVIE STUDIOS, that we wont support HI Def Unless the Studios Support Both Formats, and stop favoring one side for the Other...Its only hurting consumers......................

epsilonone
epsilonone

PC has gears of war so what are u trying to say

Azhar85
Azhar85

we want games, games, games and games....great games, good games, AAAAAAA+++++ games.....from PS3....not just film that can be download via PC...and we can watch it on PC...Sony just don't get it...they dont't have any AAAAA+++ title yet this whole year....even 360 has Gears of War and Wii has Super Mario Galaxy...PS3...just a piece of overhype machine...

pinthepimp
pinthepimp

I don't see the confusion between Hi-Def formats. HD-DVD - Cheap, Blu-Ray - More Capacity. Blu-Ray/Sony winning this thing isn't what I'd call good. The Blu-Ray format is still not finalised (remind anyone of 802.11n?) HD-DVD has been finalised since launch, even including internet update for extras on discs. This is something Blu-Ray have been trying for some time now, to no avail. The worst thing about this announcement is Sony winning the format war. This will allow them to sit back, relax and watch the dough roll in. They won't be in a price war with another format, they'll selling DVD's replacement. You think £20 per film is bad ? try £30. If the format war is too confusing for people, it's upto the companies to market what their products do better. And for these people to educate themselves a little better. HD-DVD & Blu-Ray means choice, and competition. Blu-Ray dominance means Sony can do what they want, have everyone at their beck and call, and they'll not just be arrogant now, they'll know they right about Blu-Ray and about PS3. Call me a HD-DVD fan-boy/Sony Basher if you like, I'm buying a PS3 shortly now they've got their act together and released Dual-Shock 3 (If only in Japan atm). Rant Over. :)

xophaser
xophaser

I am not sure what movies I am excited to get from Universal in HD quality, Universal is top heavy in drama and then thriller. I guess, I will go exclusive to blu-ray too. Warner is top on my stuido movies list. On paper both specs and codecs are the same except for 30gb vs 50gb. The technology evolved from laser disc to CD etc.

kb8618
kb8618

"Freeman79 For all of you that now is kissing Sonys PS3 and saying that BRD has won this so called format war. Time Warner had a contract with Toshiba and partners. When they announced that they will ONLY be supporting Sonys BRD format. It was a breach of contract. If Toshiba is smart, and they are, them and partners should sue Time Warner, New Line Cinema and HBO. This might not be over. They should sue them and let a judge pass judgement on the whole. With like "You may not sell ANY BRD movies in the USA for 3 years" or something. Because the DID breach a contract. [UPDATE] Sony said to Time Warner "How much money do you want to go BR exclusive?". I DONT LIKE SONYS BUISNESS STRATAGY." Didn't Time Warner get payed like 120mill BY THE HD-DVD GROUP to go HD-DVD exlusive for like 8 months. So, technically if it's even true about the blu-ray group payin, your update is pointless cuz the hd-dvd group did it first. Lastly, if it is Warner then there's no breach of contract as long as they don't release a movie on Bluray till the time exclusive deal ends.

eegeeg
eegeeg

I agree down with HD-DVD it sucks

Stec13
Stec13

YES it's about time I'm so happy to see HD-DVD die a quick death so everyone can get on with the real future Blu-Ray!

Klawgamer55
Klawgamer55

Really it's not a shock, I don't see the difference in the two but Blu-Ray got off the line faster then HD-DVD and picked up a better selection of movies. Well I guess I have an excuse to get a PS3. Maybe in a few years they'll be worthwhile games for it to go along with the movies.

wookieearmada
wookieearmada

this has never been a format war so much as a console war. i dont know one person witha stand-alone blu ray or hd player. it's a real shame for people like me who've invested in the hd-dvd format now with the 360 add-on, and even moreso for fans of the 360 in general. this could be a major turnaround in the market for ps3 simply because of its built-in system. with companies having to support one or the other and rarely both, it put consumers in an unfair position if you wanted a hi-def experience. the war really is over and im glad it is, but this is a real letdown for all of us who spent good money backing a horse that looked like it had enough to finish the race.

02sfraser
02sfraser

wow that is a big deal to the war. I think Blu-ray was always going to win. There are far to many companies backing Blu-Ray from the start for it not to win

bigcrusha
bigcrusha

This won't exactly boost ps3 sales seeing that gaming fans made it clear that they want a good GAMING console with EXCELLENT GAMES. Altough, as much as i don't want to admit it, HD-DVD sorta lost this battle. I think this is the best time to start saving up for a Blu-ray player.

rgjj
rgjj

the time warner contract was not a permanent one so if u look in to the actuall official press release then u can get the dates that the exclusity will be from. so clever u can look for it urselves as im sure toshiba cant find it!!

kTvTv3
kTvTv3

Nawras, so your saying, that EVEN THOUGH the blu-ray player plays games and blu-ray games, people are only buying the ps3 to ONLY watch movies on them? No. I don't know if you apparently heard but the format of ps3 games is also BLU-RAY. Funny huh? And you got a problem if the format is making some fame? Or do you take that fame it's getting and only apply it to a narrowminded mind-set?

metalcarnage666
metalcarnage666

do any of you moan and groan about something so trivial.... please .. if ur a gamer it doesnt matter what format of dvd someone is goin to use.. so just shut up already ... so many of you do nothing but complain .. while other just take it in stride.... unless u a programmer or someone of high intellect that can write there own games and place them on a format.. u sould be complaing.. eventually ms will make a blue ray player.. or for all we kno the cost of blue ray will be its down fall.. so JUST SHUT UP ALREADY ... and all u fan boys yo are the sole reason behind this stupidity... if u were a true gamer youd own every system.. even with theyre flaws and bad games.. no matter wat format they were on... oo and by the way go ahead and ridicule my post like the 5 yr old kids u are... drop the controler and go get laid...

mikewalsh69
mikewalsh69

@freeman70 what the hell are you on about??? firstly they didn't break the contract as they said they are keeping releasing titles on both formats till june. then the contract runs up and they can do whatever they want. its not a breach of contract saying that this is what you're gonna do. a player can have a contract but the manager can always say 'come summer your gone!!!'

Azhar85
Azhar85

we know blu-ray is the format future..but the ps3 are nothing if compared to the 360..in terms of gaming..accept that PS3 fanbots...

HXCDEW
HXCDEW

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

Olly464
Olly464

Freeman79, I would believe you if you didnt have a master chief avatar. C'mon, at least just accept blu ray is good, if not anything else about the PS3. Can anyone manage that?

Nawras
Nawras

this nonsense has got to stop - you bought the consoles to play games, not watch movies.. do it really doesn't matter what Warner will side on as long as you get your games

Freeman79
Freeman79

For all of you that now is kissing Sonys PS3 and saying that BRD has won this so called format war. Time Warner had a contract with Toshiba and partners. When they announced that they will ONLY be supporting Sonys BRD format. It was a breach of contract. If Toshiba is smart, and they are, them and partners should sue Time Warner, New Line Cinema and HBO. This might not be over. They should sue them and let a judge pass judgement on the whole. With like "You may not sell ANY BRD movies in the USA for 3 years" or something. Because the DID breach a contract. [UPDATE] Sony said to Time Warner "How much money do you want to go BR exclusive?". I DONT LIKE SONYS BUISNESS STRATAGY.

McDog3
McDog3

Sucks for HD-DVD's........what a stupid concept, "format wars", developed to screw over the confused masses.......

Zerosumgame
Zerosumgame

For those who got HD-DVDs, I want tell you that I am an antique collector interested in getting your HD-DVDs, let me know if you are interested. thanks.

fooldog01
fooldog01

Took long enough. Betamax/Minidisc ring a bell?

alex33x
alex33x

So its over Sony wins the next gen format war, not like I ever doubted it. LOL

fooldog01
fooldog01

After just posting on another news topic, I made the mistake of scrolling down here, as well. I'm just going to paste my post here too. "What I am sick of is hearing every single person on this website moan and complain about Microsoft or Sony. I can't believe I still scroll down below the story. I should know by now all I am going to see is a bunch of self-righteous propoganda from people who don't know anything about anything. Are you people really so pathetic that every chance you get you arbitrarily attack the hardware manufacturer you deem inferior (Typically because you own the opposition's system.")? Nobody cares, so shut up. Losers."

SonOfSparda018
SonOfSparda018

Another victory for us, Playstation loyal fans. Sony, you're always right and winning!!!

SlawekAB
SlawekAB

who give's a crap about special features. Do you buy the disc to see special features or the movie that is planted on the disc. And the different versions AKA profiles are HDMI PROFILES as in (1.1,1.2,1.3) it has nothing to do with blu-ray

David_I
David_I

@ lanista: Some games nowadays do not fit in a DVD, example: Heavenly Sword, only the sound of the whole game is more than a DVD