Warner To Introduce Blu-ray/HD DVD Discs At CES

The format war just took and interesting turn as some juicy pre-CES news leaked out to the Internet today courtesy of the New York Times. Next week at CES Warner will be announcing the Total HD disc, which will carry both Blu-ray and HD DVD transfers of a title on a single disc.

The obvious hope here is to end the consumer confusion and/or apathy, and spur HD sales overall by moving the folks who are waiting for one format or the other to emerge as a "winner" in the format war. And indeed, the Times' story stated that Warner execs are hopeful that retailers will support this product in a big way, and that rival studios might also be convinced to do the same thing.

We hope these execs won't hold their breath on that one, as studios like Buena Vista (Disney), Sony and Fox have all been rock solid in their support for Blu-ray exclusively. Just because this option becomes available doesn't mean studos will support it.

There were no technical specs or pricing offered for Total HD, so at this point we don't know if these discs will offer dual-sided, dual-layer disc capability or what cost premium might be attached to these discs. Current combo DVD/HD DVD discs are often sold at prices as high as $39.95 at retail, while the DVD discs of the same title come in under $20 making the combi disc a serious price punishment to those who only want the HD DVD version of a movie. And of course, our worst fear with Total HD is that one of both fomrats might be limited to single-layer, and therefore have limited capacity for high quality audio/video and be more expensive to boot.

We expect to bring more details to you after Warner's CES press conference Tuesday night, so keep an eye on our CES Blogs for the full scoop!