Warner details combo HD DVD/Blu-ray disc

Warner Brothers studio announced it would put out a new disc format containing both HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of the same movie.

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David Carnoy
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As reported last week, Warner Brothers announced yesterday at CES its introduction of a new disc format that will contain both HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of the same movie, so it would work with either type of player. Warner calls the new format Total HD.

The studio fleshed out a few more details at the press conference. It announced that major retailers Best Buy and Circuit City, along with online retailer Amazon, will stock the discs when they appear in the second half of this year. It also specified, according to Reuters, that the discs could be either single- or double-sided, and that Total HD discs would not cost more than standard Blu-ray or HD DVD discs in stores.

Warner is 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 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 exclusively with HD DVD, while Sony, MGM, 20th Century Fox, and Disney are all exclusively Blu-Ray.

In other CES format war news, LG announced a player that can handle discs from both formats. 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.