Is Warner Brothers Trying to Rekindle the HD Format Wars?


Everyone assumed the high definition format war was over after movie studios abruptly bailed on the HD-DVD format seemingly over night, but could it be just beginning? China certainly hopes so, whose China Blue HD (CBHD) just received a shot in the arm from Warner Brother's announcement that it plans to support the format with several films in the first half of 2009.

Like HD-DVD, CBHD players and media are comparatively inexpensive next to Blu-ray. According to the Optical Memory National Engineering Research Center (OMNERC), who jointly produced the CBHD format with the DVD Forum, converting an existing DVD production line to CBHD costs just $800,000, significantly lower than the $3 million it takes to switch to Blu-ray. Add low licensing fees to the mix and you have a format that's easier on the wallet for Chinese customers than Blu-ray.

Studios appeared uninterested in backing the CBHD format when the group tried to promot itself in the fall of 2008. With Warner Brothers jumping on board, it will be interesting to see if other studios follow suit, especially since a pricing advantage wasn't enough to keep HD-DVD afloat. And with the announcement of a new Blu-ray licensing firm, which is expected to result in lower priced players and media by mid-year, CBHD's window of opportunity might be closing fast.

Image Credit: NVWorld

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