NBC Universal HD-DVD Exclusivity Has Ended
Daily Variety has learned, and has been able to confirm that NBC Universal's exclusivity contract with HD-DVD has ended. Furthermore, they were able to confirm that it is not renewed, and that can only spell trouble. Typically, contracts are renewed ahead of time, well before their expiration, so to find out that such isn't the case here should be alarming to the HD-DVD camp.
Additionally, days ago, we learned that Paramount Pictures will also be leaving HD-DVD. The studio had an unusual clause in their contract with HD-DVD which allows them to leave if at any point in time Warner Bros. made their departure. It seems like an extremely weird clause to have, but it's real, nonetheless.
Right now, neither company has made any official statements or hints towards jumping the fence. At the Computer Entertainment Show this past week, Toshiba stated their plans to keep HD-DVD alive. But, with hardware and software sales of HD-DVD lagging behind Blu-ray, it is ultimately up to the retailer to decide this war once and for all.
Best Buy, Target, and Circuit City have all devoted more and more shelf-space for Blu-ray, as opposed to HD-DVD, which is an indication of their choice in this war. If Universal announces plans for Blu-ray, consider this war officially over. Either that, or once retailers begin carrying Blu-ray exclusively.
1/10/2008 Arnold Katayev