updated 03:05 pm EDT, Tue July 3, 2007
EU grills studios on HD
The European Commission is investigating the legality of current HD formats in the continent. According to the Associated Press, Disney, Fox, Sony and Universal are being probed, because each will only release HD movies in a single format -- the first three exclusively in Blu-Ray, with Universal alone choosing HD DVD. In theory any or all of the studios could be breaking antitrust law, which is notoriously firm in Europe. Some recent US companies brought under a microscope include Apple and Microsoft. There is no immediate danger of legal action against the movie companies, however.
"We are currently fact-finding," comments European Union spokesman Jonathan Todd, "and have sent requests for information to a number of Hollywood studios. It is not a formal investigation." Todd further explains that no complaints are behind the inquiry, and it is merely asking for replies by July 6th.
The ongoing conflict between HD formats has caused considerable problems for adoption and the industry as a whole. Because many movies such as "Casino Royale" and "King Kong" are available only on one format or another, many buyers are holding out on HD players, preferring to play it safe with standard DVD systems. This has led to sometimes dramatic solutions, such as hybrid players and discs.
Studios that do release movies on both Blu-Ray and HD DVD include Paramount and Warner Brothers.