In a press conference today at IFA, the HD DVD Promotion Group, announced that next-generation HD DVD players and high-definition content will be widely available to the European market beginning November 2006
HD DVD will provide consumers with pristine video and stunning surround sound allowing them to take advantage of today's high-definition televisions and home theater systems.
Toshiba Corporation unveiled two new HD DVD players for the European market that will be available in just a few weeks. The first player is a mainstream model priced at 599EURO. A higher-end model will be available in December at 899EURO. Both players offer new, state-of-the-art video processing, support for the latest video and surround-sound formats, and extensive support for advanced navigation and interactive features, along with a new, slimline design. The high-end model adds 1080p output to the Toshiba line-up. This announcement follows the company's launch of AV notebook PC Qosmio G30 with HD DVD-ROM drive this June.
Studio Canal announced 10 titles that will be available in November followed by an additional 15 titles by March including "The Pianist," "Million Dollar Baby" and "La Haine." Executives from Paramount Home Entertainment International, Universal Pictures International and Warner Home Video announced more than 25 titles including "Apollo 13," "Constantine," "Goodfellas," "Jarhead," "M:i:III" and "Lethal Weapon" will be available in Europe to coincide with the release of the Toshiba players. Together, nearly 40 titles will be available throughout Europe by the end of 2006 and more than 55 in the first quarter of 2007. The studios also pledged strong support for HD DVD in 2007 and highlighted plans to offer current theatrical releases as well as choice selections from their vast catalogs of classics over the next several months.
Pathe Distribution announced that "Renaissance," the French animated science fiction film, will be available in HD DVD at launch, and 2 Entertain has committed to release the highly acclaimed BBC/Sir David Attenborough program "Planet Earth."
"HD DVD has been lauded by early adopters in the US and Japan for providing consistently high-quality and unsurpassed audio and video performance," said Yoshihide Fujii, Chairman of the HD DVD Promotion Group and Toshiba's Corporate Senior Vice President and President and CEO of Digital Media Network Company. "Europe is seeing fast-growing demand for HDTV, and we are proud to offer HD DVD as a way to help customers maximize enjoyment of their home theaters."
As one of the key technology providers for HD DVD, Microsoft offered its perspective on HD DVD encompassing both IT and entertainment.
"With industry-leading audio, video and interactivity experience, HD DVD has delighted enthusiasts and professionals alike," stated Amir Majidimehr, Corporate Vice President for Consumer Media Technology at Microsoft Corporation. "With the power of advanced compression technology, ease of manufacturing of dual-layer discs, and superb value of players, HD DVD has set a new standard in home theater entertainment."
Leading authoring and replication companies including CMC, Cyberlink, DMP, MPO, Sonic Solutions, Sonopress and QOL were also represented, and MPO announced that it will produce all of the first Studio Canal releases. Imagion was on hand to add an authoring company perspective on HD DVD and discussed "Elephants Dream," the first title the company has authored in the new format.
"One of the most important aspects of making HD DVD a success in Europe is to make sure that the companies creating or distributing content in the region have access to all of the tools and services necessary to manufacture discs locally," said Rodolphe Buet, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Studio Canal. "Working with MPO enabled us to be able to offer so many titles so quickly and the fact that all of the major players in Europe are already up and running with HD DVD will allow the format to continue to grow rapidly."