Microsoft, Hollywood rush to HD DVD's defence

The HD DVD booth at CES 2008 has been almost entirely bereft of visitors

Microsoft, Universal and


have sought to defend


D from the onslaught of defections and rumours that have dogged it since the start of the year.

For its part, Microsoft has stomped on comments made by one of its executives yesterday that it would offer an external Blu-ray drive to Xbox 360 owners if they demanded it. Microsoft said it has no plans to do any such thing, and that it believes HD DVD to be the best format for us consumers, The Register reports.

Paramount and Universal have also denied reports that they've jumped off the rapidly sinking HD DVD ship and are rowing furiously towards the safety of Blu-ray island, a story we reported this morning.

"This is just a rumour, both Universal and Paramount are continuing to produce movies in HD DVD," said Ken Graffeo, executive vice president of High Definition Strategic Marketing at Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

"HD DVD is the best optical solution for consumers, since it's the only format today that delivers high quality experiences at affordable prices. Sounds like Microsoft and its allies are singing from the same hymn sheet.

HD DVD: no fight left?

Whether the latest rumours are true or not, HD DVD looks mortally wounded today. In the last week it's been abandoned by Warner Bros - its biggest supporter - for which the HD DVD camp had no answer at CES 2008.

Instead it cancelled arguably its most important press conference of the year, while its booth at CES been almost entirely bereft of visitors for most of the week.

It's going to take Herculean levels of effort to turn this mess around. But does anyone - even Microsoft - have the strength to carry on?