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Paramount backs Blu-ray

HD DVD supporter ponders PlayStation 3

Paramount Home Entertainment has hopped onto the fence, committing itself this weekend to releasing content on both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc (BD) when the next-generation optical disc formats launch.

Paramount was one of three major studios that last January publicly backed HD DVD as their high-definition home entertainment medium of choice. It was joined at an official HD DVD unveiling by Warner Bros. and Universal Studios.

At the time, all three companies were quick to state that their affiliation with HD DVD was not an exclusive one, and while it was clear they were keeping their options open should BD ultimately prove the more popular of the two rival formats, they would put their weight behind HD DVD in the short term at least.

No longer. According to an AFX report, Paramount will now support BD too. In a statement sent to the news agency, Paramount said it hopes to make sales on the back of the PlayStation 3's BD support.

The PS3 is arguably BD's strongest card. HD DVD's is its use of the highly recognisable DVD logo. While the two formats have other advantages - BD's capacity, the relatively lower cost of HD DVD manufacturing - it's really factors like these which will determine the availability of in-demand content, which will decide which format wins consumer acceptance.

Paramount's move shows it's no longer confident that pushing one format in the hope of establishing it as the de facto standard is in its best interests.

Quite apart from the picture Paramount's move may provide the BD backers of confusion in the HD DVD camp, it's a potentially powerful content win. In pitching for early adopters, content will be key, and Paramount brings with it the Star Trek franchise. Fans of the various series and movies tend to be among the more acquisitive of content buyers. ®

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