Studios Promise HD-DVD Movies in 2005

Discussion in 'DVD Video' started by Ablang, Jan 9, 2005.

  1. Ablang

    Ablang Guest

    Studios Promise HD-DVD Movies in 2005

    Almost 100 titles will be available on the next-gen DVD format,
    studios say.

    Martyn Williams, IDG News Service
    Friday, January 07, 2005

    LAS VEGAS -- When it comes to high-definition video discs, movie fans
    finally have something more to look forward to than a format battle.
    Three major Hollywood studios and hardware makers backing the HD-DVD
    format committed to releasing players and high-definition movies by
    the end of this year.

    Toshiba, NEC, and Sanyo Electric say players for the format will be
    available starting as early as September this year, and Warner Home
    Video, Universal Pictures, and Paramount Pictures announced 89 titles
    that will be available on the new format at or close to its launch in
    the fourth quarter.

    The announcement, which took place at the International Consumer
    Electronics Show here, marks the first time that any major Hollywood
    studio has committed to a release schedule and provided names of
    titles that are set for release in high-definition format.

    Competing Formats

    Companies supporting the rival Blu-ray Disc format announced new
    support for their format from Sun Microsystems, Texas Instruments,
    Electronic Arts, and Vivendi Universal Games. However, a launch
    schedule for Blu-ray Disc has not yet been defined as clearly as that
    for HD-DVD. Sony said earlier this week that it plans to release
    content on Blu-ray Disc sometime in 2006, but did not provide more
    specific details.

    "HD-DVD is reality, Blu-ray Disc is imaginary," says Hiroshi Inada,
    chief research manager of NEC's Media and Information Research

    NEC is using CES to show its latest prototype HD-DVD drive for
    personal computers, which is a standard 'half-height' type drive and
    is compatible with the new format and also DVD and CD.

    High-definition movie titles coming this year include around 50 titles
    from the Warner Home Video, New Line Cinema, and HBO units of Warner
    Bros. These will include several new movies, including Batman Begins,
    Constantine, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Warner will also
    offer titles from the Matrix and Harry Potter series. Paramount says
    it will release around 20 titles, including The Manchurian Candidate
    and the upcoming Elizabethtown. Universal named 16 movies including
    Van Helsing, The Bourne Supremacy, and The Chronicles of Riddick.

    "This is very encouraging," says Hisashi Yamada, chief fellow of
    Toshiba's digital media network division. "First we got commitment
    [from Hollywood] but no actual schedule. Today, they announced titles
    to be launched on HD-DVD."

    Putting on the Pressure

    For Toshiba and other hardware makers, the announcement increases the
    pressure on them to get their first devices ready in time, Yamada

    Toshiba and Sanyo say they plan to offer HD-DVD players in the fourth
    quarter. NEC says it will have a read-only PC drive in September and a
    rewritable drive available before the end of the year. Toshiba also
    says it plans to put on sale a notebook PC with HD-DVD support by the
    end of 2005.

    Things yet to be announced are the precise regional roll-out plan for
    HD-DVD and the price of the discs and players, although some clues
    were provided.

    Initial roll-out of the format is likely in the United States and
    Japan. Europe will come later, partly because there is little
    high-definition broadcasting or televisions in Europe at present. The
    roll-out of titles is likely to follow the current practice for DVDs,
    and so come after the theatrical run of the movie. Because most movies
    are launched first in the United States, titles are likely to be
    available earlier in that market.

    On pricing, HD-DVD discs are likely to cost more than current DVDs at
    launch, says Dominic DallaVerde, senior director of disc preproduction
    at disc maker Cinram International. However, in time the price is
    expected to fall to close to DVD, he says.

    So far the only indication of player pricing has come from Toshiba,
    which has said it is aiming for a price of under $1000.

    For more CES coverage, see PC World's CES news page or our CES staff

    "The cup's gone up from an A to D. It's bad for you, but it's
    fun for me."
    -- Chris Martin's rap song to Gwenyth Paltrow
    Ablang, Jan 9, 2005
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