A story in today's WSJ highlights two things about HD DVD that we already knew, but weren't sure the world did: • That many titles from Sony, Fox and Disney that are Blu-ray only here in the US are available in HD DVD in other countries. • And, since HD DVD is region-free, you can order discs on sites like Xploited Cinema and don't have to worry about them not playing on your HD DVD player. The reverse was also the case, but there was a catch:
Some titles that come out exclusively on HD DVD in the U.S. come out on Blu-ray overseas, such as Universal Pictures' "Bruce Almighty" and "Hollywoodland," but consumers must be sure they are buying from a region that works with U.S. players. For Blu-ray, the U.S. is in the same region as almost all of the Americas and Southeast Asia.
The WSJ piece didn't mention one little loophole for cult movie lovers: some horror indies such as Dawn of the Dead, Halloween and Evil Dead II are available on Xploited Cinema in "region free" Blu-ray.
The bottom line as far as the format war is concerned:
Still, most major high-definition titles available overseas seem to reflect a switch to HD DVD, rather than the reverse.
AU: Here's a stat I bet isn't covered by GfK sales figures - people's HD DVD purchases via Amazon.com. Region-free is a big consumer advantage for HD DVD, and this WSJ story really reflects that. It seemed like this war was Blu-ray's to lose, but things seem to be coming back to parity. Sony really needs (needed?) PS3 to knock it out of the park, but that just isn't happening.