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HD DVD Mounts Spring Offensive

28 Mar, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Not so fast Blu-ray.

Backers of rival next-generation optical media disc format, HD DVD, March 28 announced through July they would release more than 70 movies and concert videos, including Oscar-winner Jennifer Hudson in DreamGirls, The Good Shepherd, with Matt Damon and Angelina Jolie, and the action-comedy Smokin' Aces, with Jeremy Piven.

The co-announcement by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, The Weinstein Co., Genius Products, Warner Home Video, Paramount Home Entertainment and Eagle Rock Entertainment, coincides with a slated April 1 price reduction of Toshiba's line of HD DVD players in the U.S. market.

The retail price for the entry-level HD-A2 has been slashed $100 to $399.99 and the new HD-A20 featuring 1080p resolution will be introduced at $499. The HD-XA2 was reduced to $799.99 earlier this month.

“The spring is ramping up well for HD DVD,” said Ken Graffeo, EVP, HD strategic marketing, USHE. “Our customer base continues to buy movies at rates that outpace DVD in its early years, which show the willingness of consumers to make the transition to high definition.”

Following last November's launch of Sony's Blu-ray-enabled PlayStation 3, Blu-ray began to catch up in unit sales, and in February established a slight lead in unit sales — 100 units to every 98.71 units of HD DVD — since the inception of both formats, according to Nielsen VideoScan First Alert data.

Other HD DVD titles slated for release in April include: Payback: Straight, The Director's Cut, A Scanner Darkly and Freedom Writers (day-and-date with DVD release).

May: The 40-Year Old Virgin – Unrated, Flags of Our Fathers: Special Collector's Edition, The Hitcher (HD DVD/DVD combo and standard DVD), Black Christmas and Alpha Dog (HD DVD/DVD combo & standard DVD), among others.

June: Bruce Almighty, Being John Malkovich, Coming to America, Mystery Men, The Watcher, American Me and Born on the 4th of July, among others.

July: The Bourne Identity, Scent of a Woman, Deliver Us From Eva, The Untouchables, Billy Madison and Shaun of the Dead, among others.

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