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Warner's new next-gen DVD discs will go both ways

Warner is announcing dual-format HD-DVD/Blu-ray discs at CES

The New York Timesreports that Warner Brothers is going to announce next week that it has developed a "single videodisc that can play films and television programs in both Blu-ray and HD DVD." The disc will be called Total HD.

Warner's making the move after it became apparent that neither Blu-ray nor HD DVD is taking off all that quickly and that neither format seems to be on the verge of gaining the upper hand, even with the release of Sony's PS3, which has a built-in Blu-ray player. In other words, the company expects a long and protracted war, and--while the combo disc likely will cost more to manufacture in the short run--I assume the overall cost to market a single disc rather than two separate packages of the same movie will be significantly cheaper. It also will help save precious shelf space in stores (eventually).

Warner is announcing dual-format HD DVD/Blu-ray discs at CES
Warner's planning a supermerger.

Currently, only Warner and Paramount are putting out movies in both formats. Universal has sided with HD DVD, while Sony, MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Disney are all exclusively Blu-Ray.

At about the same time Warner is announcing Total HD, LG and perhaps other manufacturers will be announcing dual-format players at CES. All I can say is that the whole thing is stupid and I don't plan on buying either format any time soon, especially when I can easily click on a pull-down menu in my Netflix account and rent whatever movies are available in HD DVD or Blu-ray.