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Shrek studio looks to Toshiba to untie HD DVD bond

DWA admits it was 'well compensated' to back format

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DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has confirmed the rumours: the company was "well-compensated" for its decision to offer movies only on HD DVD - a format it will continue to back, despite Toshiba's decision to abandon it.

Katzenberg, speaking to news agency Reuters, didn't reveal how much money his company had received to back HD DVD. In August 2007, just after the deal was announced, the New York Times alleged DreamWorks Animation and Paramount had together received $150m to encourage them to steer clear of Blu-ray Disc.

Toshiba declared earlier this month that it will end production of HD DVD players and recorders, and will stop shipping them by the end of March.

Not much point in releasing new material on HD DVD, you might think, but Katzenberg indicated DreamWorks Animation wasn't yet ready to cut its losses and go Blu.

"We have a partnership with Toshiba and have an obligation to see this through," he said. "We have been well-compensated for our support. It really is in [Toshiba's] court at this point to really declare what the next step will be."

Paramount was last week reported to have decided that it has to go back to Blu-ray, though the company has yet to formally announce such a move, and it's website continues to promote the studio's HD DVD offerings, as does DreamWorks Animation's site. However, Paramount Blu-ray Discs are now once again listed on Amazon.com.

Katzenberg's comments and Paramount's terse responses to re-offering Blu-ray content suggests the HD DVD exclusivity deal tied them down rather more tightly than many observers thought. Back in January, after Warner announced it would offer future titles only on Blu-ray, it was claimed that Paramount was now able to make the same move thanks to a clause in its contract with Toshiba.

The fact it didn't go Blu after Warner dropped its bombshell, or make a big statement after Toshiba's revelation, suggests it to is waiting on the consumer electronics company to formally free it from its obligations to HD DVD.

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