How's this for a bad bet? Viacom's (NYSE: VIA ) Paramount and DreamWorks Animation (NYSE: DWA ) will only be supporting HD-DVD in the battle between the two platforms seeking to eventually supplant the DVD as the flick-disc format of choice.
Both HD-DVD and Blu-ray have been slow to come around. HD-DVD offers slightly cheaper players and media, but Blu-ray packs the better storage capacity.
Committing to one wafer-thin niche -- in what is already a small two-niche market -- doesn't make a whole lot of sense. The exclusivity push comes just after Sony (NYSE: SNE ) lowered prices on its Blu-ray-powered PS3 video game consoles. Microsoft's (Nasdaq: MSFT ) Xbox 360 does offer an HD-DVD drive, but it's only a sparingly added accessory.
Taking sides will also slow down the already lethargic adoption rate. Few people will shell out hundreds of dollars to upgrade to a Blu-ray or HD-DVD player when the studios aren't completely behind a format, in the way they've all rallied behind the original DVD. Nobody wants to make a bad bet on the latest version of VHS vs. Betamax.
The prospects of not having Shrek the Third or Blades of Glory on Blu-ray doesn't mean that the higher-end platform is toast. Heck, did you see either flick? It may even be a Blu-ray selling point. Still, in all seriousness, this is just a bad move all the way around.
I understand why Sony hits like Spider-Man 3 are not going HD-DVD. Sony has a huge wager on Blu-ray hardware. What I don't get is why Viacom and DreamWorks Animation would throw their weight -- exclusively -- behind the laggard.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a sucker for quality animation. Yes, he owns shares of DreamWorks Animation. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.