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Warner puts 'Glu-ray' disc on hold - again

Blu-ray/HD DVD combo's time is past

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Warner Home Entertainment has once again admitted that its Total HD multi-format next-gen optical disc initiative is "on hold".

Actually, the thing's positively moribund, we'd suggest, having been made irrelevant by the unwillingness of the rest of the content business to back it.

Warner launched Total HD back in January, pitching it as the solution to the format war: studios could use it to deliver both HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc content in the same package. How? By making one of each and gluing them together, label-side.

The snag: consumers have generally avoided two-sided discs - a fact that spurred the development of the two-layer, single-sided DVD. Warner hoped consumers would put up with that in Total HD's case because of the ability to buy content proof against the outcome of the battle between HD DVD and Blu-ray.

But with Total HDs costing double what a single disc would, and with too many of its fellow studios determined to back only one of the competing formats, Warner's support base was limited to itself and Paramount. And this summer Paramount stopped supporting both formats in favour of HD DVD.

Jim Noonan, Senior VP of Strategic Promotion and Communication for Warner Home Entertainment, this week told website High-Def Digest that Total HD was "on hold" - the same words used by Warner Home Video President Ron Sanders back in September.

Of course, Warner never had the courage to offer Total HD discs on its own, using it to offer both formats with a single product, but according to Noonan, that's not what retailers want: "If anything, at this point, it would further complicate their life, because there would be another product looking for shelf space. Our job is not to further complicate the lives of our retailers."

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