Quid Pro Quo, Clarice. Quid Pro Quo.

Paramount's decision to throw all its support to the HD-DVD side in the format wars for hi-def entertainment was a bit of a surprise. The fight for supremacy between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray is likely to have a winner take all outcome, as one format or another gains the upper hand and the other goes the way of Betamax. But according to the New York Times, Paramount chose to choose based on what's in it for Paramount, not because they think HD-DVD is necessarily better.

It turns out, according to a report in the New York Times, that the decision was made not only because HD DVD is "the affordable high quality choice for consumers" and a better standard, according to the studio, but because Paramount was paid $150 million in cash and promotional guarantees.

On Tuesday, the Times reported that, according to two unnamed Viacom executives, Paramount and DreamWorks Animation, which is part of the Paramount family, will "receive about $150 million in financial incentives for their commitment to HD DVD." The Times said the promotional guarantees will include, as an example, the use of Paramount's Shrek the Third in an HD DVD marketing campaign.

There is a danger for both the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD camp. If the jockeying for supremacy between the two formats continues inconclusively, and consumers can't see one format or the other becoming pre-eminent, they might just buy neither to avoid risking being stuck with an expensive anachronism.  Regular old DVD is still a pretty good format.
Tags:  Ice, ui, quo, pro, id, AR