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Amazon, Microsoft Push HD DVD To Indies

Seattle — and Microsoft have teamed up to encourage independent movie producers to release films in the HD DVD format.

The effort, called “1,000 HD DVD Indies Project,” will bring as many as 1,000 new feature-length independent titles to the HD DVD format, the companies said.

For its part, Amazon will use its CustomFlix disc manufacturing on-demand service to lower the barrier to entry for independent filmmakers to produce and distribute movies in the HD DVD format. The project will provide free authoring and setup services for up to 1,000 selected indie titles.

In addition, the Sundance Channel will review the high-definition features for potential broadcast on the network as well as making its own HD original eco-series, “Big Ideas for a Small Planet,” available through Amazon’s HD DVD purchase program.

The project will be spearheaded by CustomFlix, which produces and ships DVDs as they are ordered. This model is said to improve the cost structure for independent filmmakers by eliminating the need for costly inventory.

“From a technical standpoint, we found that the HD DVD format fits our business model perfectly,” stated Dana LoPiccolo-Giles, CustomFlix co-founder and managing director. “With retail shelf space at a premium, our model eliminates the risk of carrying inventory and immediately expands the number of great HD DVD titles available to consumers.”

“Amazon’s participation in this project will be a major benefit to independent filmmakers wanting to break into the high-definition market segment,” stated Amir Majidimehr, Microsoft consumer media technology group corporate VP. “The use of Microsoft technology and authoring expertise will ensure that all the HD DVD titles offered by Amazon have impeccable quality, thanks to the VC-1 codec and innovative interactive scenarios with HDi.”