Universal Won't Support HD DVD Exclusively, Blu-ray Victory Imminent Says Variety

Updated after the jump The end of the war is near: Hollywood insider Daily Variety has confirmed that Universal will no longer exclusively support HD DVD. Following Warner's defection to Blu-ray and reports on the clause that allows Paramount to publish Blu-ray titles too, the end of Universal's exclusivity deal may be one blow too many for HD DVD. However, Universal is not going to stop publishing movies in the latter format:

Update: Following the Variety report, Universal's Ken Graffeo, executive VP of HD strategic marketing and co-president of the HD DVD Promotional Group, declared "Contrary to unsubstantiated rumors from unnamed sources, Universal's current plan is to continue to support the HD DVD format."

However, Variety article doesn't say that they are going to abandon HD DVD and stands by the story, mentioning that "neither studio is ready to throw in the towel immediately, however. On Thursday, Universal broke its silence about the matter to say that it plans to keep supporting the format for the time being, a pledge Paramount made earlier in the week."

According to Variety "Universal is committed to a series of HD DVD promotions in coming months." At this time, only Universal and Paramount support the format but no longer exclusively. Sony, Disney, Fox, Lionsgate, Warner, New Line and HBO are all behind Blu-ray. Variety also argues that, with all those studios behind the format, retailers won't dedicate "premium shelf space to a dying format."

No matter how you look at it, the panorama is bad for HD DVD. It may be time to head to the bunker. [Variety and High-Def Digest - Thanks Randall and Jody]