Earlier today, we noticed a small item that was little bit buried on Engadget HD. The post referred to a report from Hi-Def Digest that said that Universal Studios Home Entertainment was "lessening its support for the controversial HD DVD/DVD combo format," and had "reconfigured the planned April combo releases of The Jerk and The Nutty Professor to be HD DVD-only." The article went on to say that the "latest move by the Universal comes on the heels of news late last week that the studio is discontinuing two of its most popular combo catalogue releases, Army of Darkness and Unleashed and instead reissuing them as HD DVD-only editions."
It's unclear just what this means. On one level, the whole combo concept seemed like a good idea. You could potentially lure in some forward-thinking buyers who were considering purchasing an HD DVD player, but were still on the fence. And it also gave you some flexibility to play the disc in standard DVD players, particularly portable DVD players (this might be appealing to parents who are buying kid-flicks that they plan on playing at home and on the road). On another level, it seemed like an added expense to lay the DVD track on one side and the HD DVD on the other.
In the end, it seems that economics may have won out, even after Universal, a big supporter of the hybrid concept, recently pledged that 90 percent of its 2007 next-gen titles would be released in the hybrid format. Does this mean that HD DVD is going down the tubes? Not as far as I can tell, and in fact, after a rough couple of months, HD DVD has had a bit of resurgence in terms of software sales, with HD DVD-exclusives from Universal such as Children of Men and The Good Shepherd selling well on Amazon.com. Moreover, HD DVD versions of Happy Feet and Planet Earth are outselling their Blu-ray counterparts--at least for now.
That said, if Universal does pull out, the war's over.
Source: Hi-Def Digest
Via: Engadget HD