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Warner's Total HD 'On Hold'

19 Nov, 2007 By: Thomas K. Arnold

WHV president Ron Sanders

Now that Warner Home Video is the only studio left that supports both rival next-generation formats, the studio has put its Total HD plans “on hold,” according to division president Ron Sanders.

At last January's Consumer Electronics Show, Warner had unveiled a dual-format disc, with Blu-ray Disc content on one side and HD DVD content on the other, in the hopes of squashing the format war before it could really begin to rage. The thinking was consumers could get both formats on one disc and thus wouldn't have to choose.

Plans were to have the first Total HD discs on the market by September, although by the summer Home Media Expo in Las Vegas, Warner was saying it would likely push back the launch date to early 2008, pending other studio involvement.

But with Paramount Home Entertainment last month dropping its support for Blu-ray Disc and going exclusively with HD DVD, getting other studios onboard seems unlikely, Sanders said — and Warner doesn't want to go it alone.

“It would be tough to proceed, since we are the last man standing in both formats,” Sanders said. “This only makes sense for studios supporting both formats, and since Paramount went the other way and retail didn't push the issue, one studio isn't enough for us to pull the trigger.”

The Total HD concept may be revisited in the future, Sanders said, but for now, “it's on hold.”

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