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After Hours

CES 08: Did Warner Bros. just kill HD-DVD? [updated]

Today, Warner Bros. announced that they are dropping support for HD-DVD in May and moving exclusively to Blu-ray. This is another major blow to the HD-DVD format. Disney, Sony, Lions Gate Entertainment and 20th Century Fox were already Blu-ray only. This leaves just Paramount and DreamWorks Animation as exclusive HD-DVD partners.

And to make matters seem even more bleak, the HD-DVD Promotion Group just canceled their CES 2008 event. I just received the following e-mail from their PR rep:

"Notice of CES Press Conference Cancellation by North American HD DVD Promotion Group

Based on the timing of the Warner Home Video announcement today, we have decided to postpone our CES 2008 press conference scheduled for Sunday, January 6th at 8:30 p.m. in the Wynn Hotel. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps. We believe the consumer continues to benefit from HD DVD's commitment to quality and affordability – a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format.

We'll continue to keep you updated on new developments around HD DVD."

This leaves a lot questions looming about the future of the format and what the reaction of big HD-DVD supporters like Toshiba and Microsoft will be. It has been widely speculated that Bill Gates will make a big announcement about the XBOX 360 at CES. One of the more popular rumors is that he will announce an XBOX 360 with a built-in HD-DVD drive. I don't see that happening now.

Makes me glad I only paid $98 for my Toshiba A2 HD-DVD player :)

[UPDATE: Looks like my colleague Josh Taylor over at ZDNet might be the one to blame for HD-DVDs current situation. See his post here. ]

So does this mark the end of the HD format war? Has Sony finally created a format that didn't flop? And will this help you make the jump to HD now that Blu-ray seems to have pulled away from HD-DVD?

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