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Universal Backs European HD DVD Promo Group

15 Mar, 2007 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Seeking to create a stronger international presence for the HD DVD next-generation, optical-disc format, several leading backers have formed the European HD DVD Promotional Group, Ltd.

The group's formation, which is supported by Universal Studios Home Entertainment, French-based Studio Canal, Toshiba and Microsoft, was announced March 15 at the CeBIT confab in Hanover, Germany.

The group plans to have more than 100 HD DVD titles, including a third from foreign studios, available in Europe by the end of the first quarter.

Hollywood titles include Babel, Dreamgirls and World Trade Center from Paramount Home Entertainment; and Casino, Ray and The Holiday from Universal.

Interestingly, The Holiday was released domestically on DVD by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which only supports rival format Blu-ray Disc.

Finally, Warner Home Video HD DVD titles earmarked for Europe include Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Happy Feet and “The Matrix” trilogy.

Other titles include Enemy at the Gates (Paramount), Two Brothers, Les Choristes, La Grande Vadrouille, L'Arm?e des Ombres, Le Cercle Rouge, Das Parfum, Graf Montenegro and La Tigre e la Neve.

Format backers expect to have upwards of 600 HD DVD titles available worldwide by December.

“After a strong year in North America and Asia, HD DVD is drawing attention in Europe,” said Ken Graffeo, EVP, HD strategic marketing, Universal Studios Home Entertainment. “HD DVD is the most recognized brand name worldwide for high-definition packaged media, and we now have a strong group of companies behind it.”

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