Warner Announces First Blu-ray Titles; Paramount Announces 10 HD DVD Titles
Paramount has finally set dates for its first HD DVD titles. On July 25th, Sahara, Tim Burton's Sleepy Hollow, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and Tomb Raider arrive. August 1st will see Four Brothers, the Denzel Washington remake of The Manchurian Candidate, and We Were Soldiers. The third wave will hit stores on August 8th, and will consist of Aeon Flux, The Italian Job, and U2: Rattle and Hum.
Warner's initial Blu-ray titles will provide for a potentially fascinating comparison head to head with HD DVD as all but one of the first titles are already on the Toshiba-backed format. Only Good Night and Good Luck isn't yet on HD DVD, but that doesn't mean it won't be by the time the BD comes out.
No word yet on the feature sets or technical specifics of Warner's BD titles, or the audio/video codecs used on these first BD titles. Warner's HD DVD releases have used VC-1 compression and Dolby Digital Plus and/or Dolby TrueHD soundtracks and most have still managed to offer the kind of feature sets that are typical of two-disc DVD sets. Most if not all of the initial Blu-ray releases from Sony, MGM and Lion's Gate have used MEPG-2, uncompressed PCM soundtracks, and offered few extras.
Both Paramount and Warner were solidly and exclusively entrenched in the HD DVD camp, once upon a time. Now both studios will be releasing titles in both Blu-ray and HD DVD, providing some interesting fuel for the format war.