The Format War’s European Loophole
With the format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc not likely to end anytime soon, some consumers are finding what they’re looking for in an unlikely place- the European market.
According to the Wall Street Journal, North American film buffs are finding that many popular films are available in Europe in the opposite hi-def format to what is offered closer to home. Therefore, these consumers are simply using the British version of Amazon.com and other Web sites to purchase the movies and watch them in their format of choice.
Why do movies released by nominally Blu-ray-exclusive studios like Disney, Fox and Sony end up on HD DVD, while pictures from Universal and Paramount find themselves on Blu-ray in Europe? It’s because overseas distribution deals are often different from those in the U.S. In addition, some films are co-productions between studios, with one studio retaining foreign distribution rights and the other nabbing domestic. Some of the distribution deals for movies currently in the crossfire were negotiated long before the format war began.