Paramount Studios, previously a notable supporter of the HD-DVD format, has become the first movie studio to announce plans to support both the upcoming HD-DVD and Blu-Ray optical disc formats. The two specifications are currently lining up supporters in an effort to become the next-generation standard after DVD - Intel and Microsoft have recently backed
HD-DVD, and earlier this year, EA and Vivendi joined up
with the Blu-Ray Disc Association, although not to the exclusion of other formats.
Paramount's announcement indicates the possibility of more studios embracing both formats and allowing consumers and retailers to decide when the new formats begin to appear in 2006. The key studios behind each format -- Sony on the Blu-ray side and Toshiba on HD-DVD -- have been attempting to keep studios firmly on one side of the fence or the other to avoid a format war. Such a position may no longer be tenable in the wake of Paramount's announcement, as Time Warner and Universal are expected to make similar multi-format announcements in the near future.
Most interesting is the reason given for Paramount's adoption of Blu-Ray: according to president of Paramount home entertainment Thomas Lesinski, "We have been intrigued by the broad support of Blu-Ray, especially the key advantage of including Blu-Ray in PlayStation 3." The expected success of the PlayStation 3 is increasingly acting as a Trojan horse for Sony's new media format, as comments already made
by Lions Gate and Universal prove.