Late last year, Warner Bros. announced it was developed a hybrid disc format designed to end the format war between HD-DVD and Blu-ray. Named Total Hi-Def—or Total HD—the planned format would literally split the difference, offering HD DVD content on one side of the disc and Blu-ray on the other. Warner Bros. trotted out the format earlier this year at CES with a spate of retailers already saying they would carry Total HD once became available. However, shifts in the high-definition disc market and amongst the movie studios trying to peddle high-definition goods seems to have claimed Total HD as a casualty: in an interview with High-Def Digest, Warner Home Entertainment’s Jim Noonan says the company has set aside Total HD…at least for now.
“Total HD was something that we offered up to the industry as a solution that would address buyer hesitancy, and the concern a consumer might have about the possible obsolesce of the hardware they were buying.” said Noonan, senior VP of strategic promotion and communication for Warner Home Entertainment. “We have no proprietary interest in Total HD. There is no patent we’re involved in, and there is no monetary reward for us if another studio decides to put out titles on Total HD. It was offered purely as an industry solution—and it is still a good and viable solution that has no expiration date.”
Describing the decision to shelve the format, Noonan offered the Warner is currently the only studio offering content in both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats, and that trying to launch Total HD using only Warner’s content would further complicate an already-irksome situation for retailers trying to support HD DVD, Blu-ray, and standard DVD content. (Until recently Paramount had also been supporting both formats; it has since stopped Blu-ray releases.)