Amazon Befriends HD DVD for Indie Films

July 4, 2007 has confirmed it will offer independent films in the HD DVD format through its video-on-demand automated disc-burn service. While the announcement may have greater psychological value to HD DVD proponents than anything else (in the wake of Blockbuster’s recent announcement that most of its outlets will carry only Blu-ray Disc titles), HD DVD’s new online friend may be coming at a crucial time for the format.

To bolster interest among content providers, Amazon is waiving processing fees for the first 1,000 titles that it OKs for format configuration by its subsidiary, CustomFlix Labs. The proprietary technology needed for the disc-burn process will come from Microsoft, including VC1 HD encoding software and HDi, according to the Associated Press.

Microsoft said about 90 percent of HD DVD titles currently use the software firm’s encoding and interactive programs. The software giant has been a strong and vocal backer of HD DVD since the start of the next-gen disc war.

An online consumer purchase of an independent HD DVD title via Amazon immediately prompts an automated process that enables the desired content to be burned onto an HD DVD, along with any requested special features, and then shipped to the buyer. (Neither Amazon nor CustomFlix provided any price points for the new disc service yet.)

Overall, Amazon currently offers more than 300 HD DVD titles on its site--along with more than 400 Blu-ray titles.

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