It’s been a week since the Paramount/HD DVD exclusivity announcement, so what’s there to be learned from the reaction?
Well, for one thing, it’s that Bill Hunt can be a overreactive shrill when he wants to. The immediate reaction was to call Microsoft “Money$oft” in a blurb, which was subsequently changed. Bill, seriously, when did you start foaming at the mouth about this shite, because it’s lost you a lot of credibility among a lot of people. Think about it rationally or just clam up. Or give yourself a week, like I did.
So, did Paramount get bought out, or at the very least, rented for a period of time? Sure, no doubt. Whether this is time buying or signs of a concrete move remains to be seen, but in looking at the Paramount/DreamWorks titles in my library, I see Apocalypse Now, The Godfather and Titanic as the main titles I’d look forward to seeing on HD. Oh yeah, and Gladiator. And I’m not counting the Spielberg titles, which is a whole other story in general. If they can put any of these out in HD, maybe there’s more widestream acceptance of the HD DVD format. Otherwise, this is a wasted experiment.
Bottom line; would it be nice to see Paramount use the MPEG-4 codec on those titles? You bet. When you consider that Sony drops PCM soundtracks on the first 2 Spider-Man films as announced this week, don’t we all think that when it comes to thinking of the consumer, having a double dip/replacement program on your first high profile disc, and probably forcing people to pay again for “Special Edition” films like the one I mentioned, that Paramount’s statement, while displaying not a lot of logic in covering business bases, makes even a tiny bit of sense? But at this point, maybe format neutrality is just costing them too much, so why not look towards a format that has sub $400 players, even if they are limited choices? One thing’s for sure, the line of demarcation is a lot clearer now, and this war unfortunately has no end in sight.
And at least if nothing else, this inspired Fox to get off the schneid and announce their releases for the rest of the year, including, I, Robot, Master and Commander and the Die Hard films, among several others. We’ll start seeing those trickle out on 10/2, so be prepared for an expensive fourth quarter. On the street this week it’s all on the HD DVD side, as Blades of Glory, The Hurricane, the Dawn of the Dead remake, Notting Hill and Season One of Heroes all arrive.
That’s it for me this week, and as always high definers, keep the brightness low and the resolution high!