Universal, HBO, New Line and Hustler are all preparing to jump aboard the Blu-ray train

Blu movies for all

Another day and another HD-related development. This time Variety is reporting that Universal is to become platform neutral, leaving their exclusivity agreement with Toshiba’s HD DVD format. This would leave Paramount as the only major exclusive backer to HD DVD, although rumours have circulated that they too are preparing to jump ship.

"Universal’s commitment to backing HD DVD exclusivity has ended," Daily Variety reported on Wednesday. But, it added, neither studio is "ready to throw in the towel immediately".

Partners to Warner Brothers, New Line and HBO, have confirmed that they will also be following the lead of Warner Home Video. New Line is famous for the Lord of the Rings franchise, whereas Shoot ’em Up, Hairspray, and Rush Hour 3 were big movies in 2007. HBO are best known for the critically and commercially successful American TV series, The Sopranos.

Finally, Jeff Thill, director of video operations for the Hustler Video Group, reckoned Blu-ray’s royalty fees was "a little bit of a headache". However, Thill gave the format the nod due to its importance to the video game market. Although Hustler has released a couple of HD DVD movies, the group expects the majority of its high-definition output in 2008 to be on Blu-ray.

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