In a move guaranteed to add fuel to the format war fire, Paramount Pictures has announced that it will no longer print movies on Blu-ray. The company has decided to produce HD DVDs instead.

Both Paramount and DreamWorks Animation SKG (a Paramount-owned company) announced today that all subsidiaries and the parent companies would exclusively use the HD DVD format. From now on all titles from Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films will be made available only in DVD and HD DVD versions.

Before the announcement was made, Paramount had previously released movies on both HD DVD and Blu-ray. But, as the company explained, its market evaluation over the past several months has uncovered two benefits of HD DVD.

Firstly, that HD DVD movies are less expensive to produce. And secondly, Paramount believes, that HD DVD is superior to Blu-ray because of its "market-ready technology".

High quality choice

"Part of our vision is to aggressively extend our movies beyond the theater, and deliver the quality and features that appeal to our audience," said Brad Grey, chairman and CEO of Paramount Pictures, in a statement. "I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount."

In a noteworthy development that was included in the statement, Paramount has no intention of making any Steven Spielberg movies exclusive to HD DVD. The company indicated that his works could be made available in either HD DVD or Blu-ray formats, or both.

During the first half of 2007, Blu-ray disc sales were nearly double those of HD DVD, according to figures released last week. Since the beginning of the year, consumers have purchased 1.6 million Blu-ray discs, compared to 795,000 HD DVD discs.

Paramount was one of the early proponents of HD DVD in 2005, before deciding to hedge its bets by selling movies in both formats soon thereafter.