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Warner Says No Plans for 'Total HD' Dual Disc Releases Print
Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show this past January, Warner Home Entertainment initially planned midyear releases of its Total HD product, a dual-format disc containing a movie in the HD DVD format on one side and Blu-ray on the other. Those plans were subsequently pushed back into early 2008, but now Warner tells High-Def Digest it has no current plans for Total HD releases.

From High-Def Digest:

Though the studio had since remained mum on the status of its plans for the hybrid format, a Warner exec has now confirmed to High-Def Digest that all current plans for Total HD have been shelved in response to a perceived shift in retailer needs following Paramount's move to HD DVD exclusivity.

"The short answer is, for the moment, it [Total HD] is on hold," explained Jim Noonan, SVP of Strategic Promotion and Communication for Warner Home Entertainment Group. "We're the only studio producing content in both formats. If we were to put out Total HD with just our titles, it wouldn't really provide the solution to our retail partners that it was intended to provide. If anything, at this point, it would further complicate their life, because there would be another product looking for shelf space. Our job is not to further complicate the lives of our retailers."

I'm not sure I buy the Warner rationale here. Unless the cost of producing Total HD discs is substantially higher than the combined cost of separate HD DVD and Blu-ray releases, there wouldn't seem to be a lot of downside to Warner going forward with its future studio releases via the Total HD method. It's also difficult to understand how Total HD would have been a burden for retailers -- this seems like a packaging issue that should be readily solvable, perhaps with a half-red (for HD DVD) and half-blue (BD) case, with the front cover flip-flopped on both the front and back sides.

But worse for HD DVD, this development is likely to rekindle recent speculation that Warner is considering  ending its support for HD DVD.