Universal, currently the only studio that releases titles exclusively on HD DVD, was eerily quiet at CES, fueling speculation that its support for HD DVD was waning. Well, late yesterday, the studio helped quell those rumors by announcing that it would be releasing 100 new exclusive titles in HD DVD format in 2007, including a CNET office favorite, The Big Lebowski.
The company didn't reveal all the new titles--or their release dates--but said that 40 to 50 would be available in the first half of the year and that 90 percent of them will be DVD/HD DVD combo discs. Brokeback Mountain, currently available, and Hollywoodland, due to arrive on February 6, are the first discs to hit stores, followed later in the year by other new films including Children of Men and The Good Shepherd.
Universal's also pulling some good stuff from its classics catalog. Scarface, Meet the Fockers, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, American Pie, Slap Shot, and Brazil are among those joining Lebowski in the fight against Blu-ray. The first season of Sci-Fi's Battlestar Galactica is also scheduled to be released on HD DVD (no word yet on the date), but E.T., Back to the Future, Jaws, and Jurassic Park didn't make the list.
So, good news for HD DVD--and Lebowski--fans. As The Dude would say, there are a lot of ins, outs, what-have-yous, and strands to keep track of in the next-generation DVD format war.
For a more complete list of Universal HD DVD titles, go to The Digital Bits. Editor Bill Hunt got a chance to speak with senior Universal reps about their HD DVD support and says he'll file his full report in the coming days.