PS3 loses neutral player (Paramount) to HD DVD

Paramount Pictures announced on Monday that it will drop support for Sony's Blu-ray high definition format in favor of exclusively supporting the Microsoft-backed HD DVD. The decision further complicates the race between the competing technologies.

Paramount officials, who previously released movies in both formats, said HD DVD is better for consumers due to its lower price when compared to Blu-ray, something families will be more willing to purchase according to the company.

The announcement affects all all movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks, Nickelodeon Movies ,and MTV Films. Universal already exclusively supports HD DVD while Warner Bros. releases movies in both HD formats.

Blu-ray still holds the lead in terms of exclusive support, however, as three of the six major film studios support Blu-ray in comparison to the two studios for HD DVD. Sony, Disney, and 20th Century Fox all back Blu-ray. In terms of discs sold, Blu-ray also leads HD DVD by a margin of 2 to 1 .

The move not only deals a minor blow to Sony's disc media and movie divisions, but to the company's PlayStation 3. Consumers will likely be more reluctant to pay US$499 for a gaming machine that doubles as a high-definition player assuming Blu-ray fails to become the standard.

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