Paramount Dropping HD-DVD?

The ongoing format war could be over quicker than anyone imagined as The Financial Times reports that Paramount Pictures may be poised to drop its support of HD-DVD after Warner Brothers’ recent backing of Sony’s Blu-ray technology.

According to the report, Paramount is understood to have a clause in the contract it signed mid-2007 with the HD-DVD camp that would allow it to get out of the deal in the event of Warner Bros. Pictures backing Blu-ray. DreamWorks Animation, which was also part of that contract, is expected to have a similar arrangement.

The day before this report emerged however, Paramount officially continued its commitment to HD-DVD – telling people at the current CES convention in Las Vegas this week that “the studios have no plans to abandon the HD-DVD format”. Despite that support however, they will not be making any new high-def title announcements at the show.

With Warners in tow, Blu-ray has four of the major six studios behind it and most of the minors. If Paramount/Dreamworks defected, that would leave just Universal Pictures as HD-DVD proponents. That studio has declined to comment on their plans, but many expect that they would shift quickly if Paramount were to change as their arrangement with the HD-DVD group isn’t as iron clad.