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HD DVD Backers Look to 'Matrix' for Spring Boost

Proponents of HD DVD have seen Blu-ray get its share of publicity in recent months, and the Sony-backed format seems to be evolving into a standard TV tagline for a lot of new disc releases ("available now on DVD and Blu-ray"). Now HD DVD backers are eyeing the spring release of two disc packages for "The Matrix" which, among other things, will include bonus materials that will run several times longer than all three movies combined.

The $1 billion theater/standard DVD franchise of the three Matrix titles (the first Matrix was the first to break the 1 million sold barrier for standard DVDs) will be marketed as two HD DVD products from Warner Home Video and Village Roadshow Pictures, to be released on May 22. (That's a Tuesday, the typical release day for most DVD titles.)

One package to be marketed as "The Ultimate Matrix Collection" includes the three motion pictures--plus nearly three-dozen hours of bonus material contained on five double-sided discs. The second product, "The Complete Matrix Trilogy," contains just the HD DVD versions of the movies, without the bonus package, according to Warner.

Both packages will include IME (In-Movie Experience), an interactive feature that allows users to access additional features and information while the movie is being viewed (including picture-in-picture). Price points for both offerings will be substantially higher than most DVD packages: about $120 and $100, respectively.