Next-gen DVD market share graphEuropean regulators have begun an inquiry into possible antitrust and anticompetitive practices by the Blu-ray Disc Association as it relates to agreements and restrictions on producing content for Blu-ray and its competing high-definition format, HD DVD. At the urging of some in the HD DVD camp, the European Commission has sent letters to many of the Hollywood studios asking them to produce any correspondence relating to their backing of the Blu-ray format. Of the major studios, Sony, Disney, Fox, Lions Gate, and MGM only release titles on Blu-ray, while only Universal is exclusive to HD DVD. Analysts say much is riding on the outcome of which format wins, with sales of content and players as a big incentive for either side. Is this inquiry just a case of sour grapes by HD DVD that sees itself as in trouble while Blu-ray has better agreements with studios? Or is the BDA not playing fair by using those vertical relationships to form a de facto monopoly? Those in the EU aim to find out.

[Thanks, LJKelley]

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European Commission looks into Blu-ray studio agreements