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Warner Bros. Delays HD DVD New and Catalog Releases

Posted on Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008 3:16 PM

On January 4, 2008, Warner Bros. Pictures turned the high definition media format war between the HD DVD and Blu-ray formats by announcing that they would be going Blu-ray exclusive as of June 1, 2008. Their announcement came as a surprise to not only us consumers (to whom they promised just before Christmas that they had no plans to change their stance of producing discs on both formats), but it was also quite a surprise to the HD DVD Promotion Group, who was leaving for CES to host a press event when the news was released the Friday before.

As part of the fallout in the week following their announcement, Warner said that it would delay the release of the remaining new releases on HD DVD by as much as three weeks after the DVD and Blu-ray release. The first title to be affected is The Invasion, which was set for release on DVD, HD DVD, and Blu-ray on January 29th.

Now, news site High-Def Digest is reporting that Warner Bros. will be applying this delay to their catalog releases as well, further twisting that knife they sank into the back of their HD DVD consumer base.

What this means is that the much-anticipated release of movies like Twister (which was originally scheduled for this month until it was delayed until May) will arrive on HD DVD three weeks after the Blu-ray release on May 6, 2008.

Let these events be further proof that companies cannot be trusted for their words, only their actions. Don't make purchase decisions based on what any companies promises they will do, since most of their comments are laced with phrases like "current plans" and "as of now" in order to cover themselves for the twists and turns they are already planning for in the future.

I wonder how many people going into big box retailers and are not being told about the events of the past couple of weeks in the format war? Sure, HD DVD players are incredibly-priced, especially after the recent price cuts by Toshiba, but considering that many in the industry are predicting the end of HD DVD during 2008 as a result of Warner's shift this month, I think it's irresponsible for retailers not to inform their customers that their purchase may have limited usefulness in the near future.

Universal and Paramount are telling us that they have "no current plans" to switch from their HD DVD-exclusive position, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we hear a different tune in the next month or two.

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