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Universal pressured to support Blu-ray, refuses

With the clear advantage going to Blu-ray as the high-definition movie format of choice by the technology-savvy or trend-setting consumer, it's only natural something like this would come along. The only exclusive movie studio for HD DVD, Universal, is getting pressured into supporting Blu-ray. A lot of persuading is going on, apparently, for them to release their films on Blu-ray.

There are reports that, in Europe, standalone HD DVD players outsell standalone Blu-ray players by 70%. Of course they do. The PS3 is a cheaper alternative with more capabilities, so that's a pretty unfair report. To further offset that report, actual movie sales dip the 70% advantage towards those lovely Blu babies. Even so, HD films are still a niche market and moving to support their "competition" isn't high on Universal's list of priorities. Their standard DVDs still sell just fine and since the PS3 can upscale those, we're not too hurt if Universal decides to stick to their guns and support HD DVD to the bitter end. Although we really wanted some Blu-ray Heroes.

[Thanks, Joe!]

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Reader Comments

(Page 1)

1. Well, there's a rumor that Universal is bound to an exclusive deal with HD DVD until 2008. That would explain why Universal hasn't said much about its plans for HD DVD into 2008. My prediction is that Universal will decide on sales during the holidays. If Universal sees that they can make more money going neutral than what they can make from staying exclusive (which probably involves Universal being payed to stay exclusive), then they'll go neutral. Only time will tell I guess.

Posted at 3:13PM on Jul 17th 2007 by TheGuy

2. hd dvd will stay exclusive till march 08, they will then release only new releases on bluray and hd dvd, and will release older titles hd dvd only, by christmas/thanksgiving depending on the war, they will go neutral releasing catalogue titles and new releases on both formats or dump hd dvd all together.

it has been writen and shall come to pass. mark my words, MARK'EM!

Posted at 3:18PM on Jul 17th 2007 by pete

3. If I didn't have a PS3 now, I would get a HD-DVD player only for Heroes.
I'm really looking forward to Universal doing blu-ray too cause I want heroes so bad :(

Posted at 3:31PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Julius

4. I think we might have to wait a long while before Universal changes it's tune. Because they're essentially the ONLY exclusive supporter of HD DVD, their going neutral would mean the immediate end of HD DVD. So I'm sure the HD DVD guys are going to do exhaust all of their resources keeping Universal HD DVD only.

Posted at 4:11PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Stef Geiger

5. Universal is the biggest reason this war has not ended. If it were Sony, there would be no end to the bashing.

FYI, Sony did indeed cave in to Toshiba with DVD, avoiding another format war.

Universal, enough is enough. Make the movies for both formats and guess what, you will sell more discs and make more money.

There is no rational explanation for Universal's refusal to make Blu0ray movies. I smell a rat. His name is BilltheAssclownGates and he must be funneling millions to keep Universal exclusive to HD-DVD.

Pathetic, Microsoft...really pathetic

Posted at 4:20PM on Jul 17th 2007 by GodisaMyth

6. Come on Universal just give in already!!! Isn't it clear enough to you that Blu-ray is winning?? It sucks because I want a few of the HD-DVD exclusives on the Blu, dammit!!

Posted at 4:50PM on Jul 17th 2007 by never$$hort

7. I'm not too concerned by this. While Universal has the rights to alot of good IP, they're the only one dedicated to HD-DVD. For them, it's a niche market. They can expect to sell everything in their catalog because nobody else is making HD-DVDs.

Eventually when HD-DVD dies, they'll go format-neutral and we'll get a flood of titles. I expect this to happen late next year (depending on how hard headed Toshiba is).

Posted at 5:25PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Popfrogs

8. Actually Popfrogs, a number of other studios release HD-DVDs, it's just that Universal is the only *exclusively* HD-DVD studio.

I fully expect Universal to go format-neutral eventually, but do be aware that they aren't the only studio releasing HD-DVD format discs.

Posted at 6:14PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Spazgadget

9. I hope you all realise that HD-DVD is founded upon a patent pool and is cheaper for the consumer then the blue-ray version, maybe those effects aren't in the market yet but they will be in the long run.
Blue-ray is only there to provide Sony with extra cash, look at it like UMD: Sony prefers to push their own format, good or bad, and if they can't they just go on and create a new potential format.

Remember that in the end it's just some cavities in a metal layer, there is no magic to it, no superior investements... just some holes in a layer of metal.

Posted at 6:47PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Iother

10. Iother...

Sony is not the ONLY company 'pushing' Blu-ray nor are they the ONLY company that will benefit from its adoption.

Matsushita, Pioneer, Philips, Thomson, LG Electronics, Hitachi, Sharp, Samsung and Sony ALL have a stake in BD winning.

BD is completely different than UMD. UMD was an inhouse product that Sony released and hoped others would sign on (they didn't). BD is 'developed' by SONY but wouldn't have seen the light of day without MANY other companies backing it and profiting from it.


Universal Music is already part of the BD group...after the exclusivity contract is done Universal Pictures will follow.

Posted at 8:25PM on Jul 17th 2007 by Kspraydad

11. @Kspraydad: Excellent post! I really enjoyed that, I really did!! =)

Universal's stake in HD-DVD is more prevalent than most people think, and I don't see them converting over anytime soon. Blu-Ray is a big investment if you are looking to mass produce content and media, and during ANY summer to fall season studios will refuse expending any good chunk of change. Universal will finally cave in, but not for another year to year and a half... HD-DVD is looking to be losing so much ground, I doubt anyone has any faith in it anymore (studios and production companies - NOT fanboys! Sheesh!)

Posted at 1:46AM on Jul 18th 2007 by Consolcwby

12. You can be sure that when there is no reason for a company to be acting the way it is, there is a back room deal going on. Someone is oiling the palms of Universal, now, who do you think that could be.

This is like a game of Chess, and it could be a long game.

Posted at 4:52AM on Jul 18th 2007 by Neil

13. I find it ironic (please correct me if I'm wrong) in Hero, Jessica and Micah are seen playing Heavenly Sword on a PS3 yet you can't watch the show Hero on a PS3 in HD using Bluray

Posted at 6:27AM on Jul 18th 2007 by Ang

14. Universal has many plans to release HD-DVD movies in 2008. On top of that, in the US, HD-DVD hardware is outselling blu-ray hardware. These numbers do not include the PS3 or Xbox 360 add-on. Luckily, I have both the PS3 and Xbox 360 with HD-DVD add-on so I can live in a HD world. I don't think it is fair that the blu-ray camp counts PS3s in their numbers. I am sure that some people are purchasing blu-ray movies simply because they have a PS3 that plays them. However, the PS3 is first and foremost a gaming console, not a blu-ray movie player. That would be like Nintendo putting their sales numbers up against companies like Dell just because the Wii can browse the internet like most computers.

I don't really care which format comes out on top, both offer exclusive features that make each one a viable choice. I still don't see the need for the 50GB discs in blu-ray though as many websites are showing that HD-DVD looks just as good. I guess that, once you get up to those high video bitrate numbers, everything starts looking alike.

Posted at 10:19AM on Jul 18th 2007 by kornchild2002

15. Ok, HD-DVD will give you Heroes if Blu-Ray gives Spider-Man in return. This is all about fairness, is it not? If people weren't worried about not being able to get their favorite movies on HD-DVD, HD-DVD would be thriving right now. The price point right now drastically favors HD-DVD, and that's the biggest concern for most consumers.

But the exclusives are what sell the product. It's something that Sony is benefitting from currently with Blu-Ray, but something that will hurt them in the video game market. I've heard that the PS3 plays video games, though I've yet to see much evidence of that.

I really want to buy a $499 60GB PS3. I want to get that built-in backwards compatibility. But I just can't justify paying $500 for what is, to this point, a glorified PS2 coupled with a Blu-Ray player. Especially with Sony holding the Spider-Man BD's till Christmas!


Posted at 1:19PM on Jul 18th 2007 by Mike

16. Oh, and I have to agree with Iother. At the end of the day, HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are just pieces of plastic. They are recording and translating the same codecs, the digital product is coming from the same stream. You could download the exact same product from the internet and there would be no difference. It would just be housed on your hard drive instead of in a disc. Any comment on the relative quality of either is silly.

Which again demonstrates my point that content will be what decides this war.


Posted at 1:19PM on Jul 18th 2007 by Mike

17. I just rented a few of the 200 blurays at my local blockbuster-I didnt see any HD-DVD's there either...wonder why...
I rent at Hollywood too-the selection is at least 2 to 1 in favor of Bluray...Wonder why... Sounds like the only thing holding Universal back is the contract-otherwise it would be terrible business to not market your product to an obviously larger demographic

Posted at 5:38PM on Jul 18th 2007 by Michial

18. Content will decide the war. Content is a derivative of Studio Support. All but one studio supports BD, including the big Disney and its affiliates..oouch for HDDVD. Not only do they have the corner on content but they have it in regards to popular distribution-Hollywood and Blockbuster. Bluray players are now competitve with true 1080p HDDVD players so Accessibility to the BD is bridging the gap. As people see commercials from more studios releasing BD product and see the larger selection in the stores and rental venues, and see the more affordable players Bluray will ultimately win. There will always be flatearthers to hold the last bit of ground but they will eventually be overtaken. Most all analysts agree. Sorry HD-this doesnt mean your product isnt as good-it just means you have lost the battle the boardrooms of the companies in control of this product have orchestrated through money and power. I am just glad I chose Bluray.

Posted at 6:01PM on Jul 18th 2007 by Michial

19. Mike,
The PS3 is WAY more than a glorified ps2. The cell processor is phemonenal. The fact it upscales previous consoles only speaks of it being greater. The graphics and power are unsurpassed. The few good video games it has in its 1st generation line up are just about equivalent to the 360's 2nd and 3rd generation titles which is quite telling. As each generation evolves the games will be more rich and lifelike than the 360 could have done in its similar generation. As a Bluray player it is phenomenal as well-it is rated along with the top players. The upscaling of dvds are as good as the other top players. All this for ONLY $500. If you've been HD shopping for any while you know that is a steal. You are virtually paying for the bluray player and getting the ps3 console for free! As 500 will only buy a stand alone bluray player. I recommend you buy one if you have a 1080p tv. You can buy a ps3 bluetooth remote for only 25 bucks that works great on it too

Posted at 6:12PM on Jul 18th 2007 by Michial

20. BlueRay Will Fail Like UMD Do Before

Posted at 4:52PM on Aug 9th 2007 by NaaCeer

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