Fox opens up to DVD

Studio nixes Divx, backs alternate format

Chalk up another vote for the digital videodisc.

Fox, the last major studio to withhold acceptance of the open DVD home theater format, has finally jumped on the DVD bandwagon.

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment ended industry speculation Monday when it announced plans to enter the open DVD market, making its move with eight film titles slated for a Nov. 3 release.

Fox had previously announced support for the newer and less widespread Digital Video Express (Divx) disc format, contributing to an atmosphere of intense competition between Divx backers and those of the open DVD standard.

“This is a great day for DVD,” said one industry champion of the emerging home theater format. “Everyone has been waiting to see what Fox would do.”

“We have been watching the development of the marketplace and the various anti piracy measures very closely. It has reached the point where we will make our entry with this varied mix of titles on DVD,” Patricia Wyatt, prexy of Fox Consumer Products, said in a release.

Fox’s first DVD titles include “The Abyss,” “Young Frankenstein,” “Porky’s,” “Predator,” “Jingle All the Way” and “Marked for Death,” under a suggested retail price of $29.98. At the same time, the studio will release “Home Alone 3” and “Hope Floats,” with a relatively high $34.98 pricetag.

The studio did not outline plans for future DVD titles. “As for a policy on new product releases, we plan to approach that on a title by title basis,” said Wyatt.

Fox’s commitment to DVD leaves only DreamWorks as a Divx-only company, but since the young studio has very few film titles in its library, its position won’t significantly limit availability of DVD software.

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