Warner Pushes Total HD Launch To 2008
At issue seems to be valuable retail shelf space. While it would seem that total HD would prove an advantage in that regard by eliminating the need for retailers to stock both formats, for the product's launch Warner wants to lead with 10-20 titles at once and have retailers merchandise these Total HD discs together in one section of the store. It's likely that Warner wants to wait until after the holidays to ensure the product isn't lost at retail during that crush of product.
Saying that it wants to market Total HD discs "together" at retail would clearly seem to indicate that the intention is to market and place them in stores separate from Blu-ray and HD DVD discs.
This brings me back to much of the trepidation I've had regarding combi players and discs. While on the surface Total HD would seem to ease consumer fear and confusion, I believe the opposite is what will ensue. And Warner's plans for Total HD seemingly make that apparent.
If this is in fact what Warner has in mind, instead of simplifying the current retail experience of the two dueling formats into one HD disc, what we're apparently going to get, at least at launch, are separate sections of shelf space in stores dedicated to three types of HD discs : Blu-ray, HD DVD, and Total HD (and that's not counting that old legacy format, DVD!). Is that really a problem solver? At Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy will that bring people in off the fence or make at least some of them wonder what kind of player they need to play Total HD discs?
And for the retailers, this doesn't seem to be a winner at all. It's long been known that retailers aren't happy about educating their sales people on the two formats or stocking both of them. Why would they be happy about stocking yet another type of disc?