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Paramount, Dreamworks go all out for HD DVD

Spielberg movies excepted

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HD DVD gained fresh ammunition for its battle with rival next-gen optical disc format Blu-ray Disc today when Paramount said it would support the format exclusively on a global basis. And since Paramount distributes Dreamworks' movies, they too will be HD DVD only going forward. Well, almost...

The spin doctors admitted: "Today’s announcement does not include films directed by Steven Spielberg as his films are not exclusive to either format."

Paramount was formerly one of two studios - the other is Warner - supporting both formats, so it's decision to put its weight behind just one of them is a victory for that format, the Spielberg angle notwithstanding.

Now we have Paramount and Universal firmly in the HD DVD camp, and Sony and 20th Century Fox backing Blu-ray exclusively. Warner remains on the fence, hoping to support both with dual releases for now before moving to its 'two formats, one disc' technology, TotalHD.

Dreamworks' co-founder - with said Steven Spielberg - Jeffrey Katzenberg said the move have been made because of the availability of cheap HD DVD players from Toshiba and the format's array of popular titles, now including Paramount's Transformers and Dreamworks' Shrek the Third.

Still, Blu-ray has the hardware advantage - there are way more Blu-ray equipped PlayStation 3s out there than Toshiba HD DVD players - and while that hasn't translated into a big lead for Blu-ray in sales of pre-recorded discs, it's outselling HD DVD two discs to one.

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