With the end of HD DVD production, and many studios slowly winding down their release of new titles, there’s usually not a lot of news happening on the HD DVD front. Regardless, I still make the rounds of various press releases to see if anything interesting has come up, and there was quite a doozy for me this morning because it turned out that I made some news instead of just reporting on it.

It seems that our April Fool’s joke has been circulated around on the internet, with some people taking certain parts of it seriously. The initial nugget for the joke came from the knowledge that many would love for their PS3s to read HD DVD discs, or their 360 HD DVD to do the same with Blu-ray media. The joke article also hit upon other points which might be familiar to people who keep abreast of technology news, such as the heat that Microsoft has taken over the “Vista capable” label applied on some lower-end computers. The joke concluded with a reference to the EU’s subsidies in the interest of fair competition.

Some people apparently circulated the joke enough that it caught the attention of the folks over at NME, the people behind the HD-VMD format. Here are some parts of the press release they put out this morning:

LONDON, April 7 /PRNewswire/ — Over the last 48 hours it has come to the attention of the Company that stories have been emerging on the Internet and in the press that EU officials have confiscated moneys from Sony and Microsoft and which have subsequently been provided to NME to promote fair competition in the High Definition optical disc market.

This coverage further goes on to state that ‘representatives from both Sony and Microsoft denied any payoffs to each other, but it’s been rumoured that the money was confiscated by EU officials who wanted to promote fair competition by subsidizing NME, makers of the HD-VMD format.’

In response to this recent press coverage NME would like to stress that it is not aware of, or party to any such activities by Sony, Microsoft or any actions by the authorities within the European Union in this regard.

Geoff Russell, NME’s Acting CEO stated today, “We cannot be sure where these rumours started or why, only to say that we have had no contact with EU Authorities in this respect. However, the NME management team cannot deny that we have watched the blue laser debate with interest and that Toshiba’s withdrawal changes nothing for the majority of disc replicators and DVD based OEMs in the world, since the capital cost and risk of migrating to blue laser technologies in a market that has a finite life is nonsensical.”

All one has to do is search Google for the phrasing referred to, and you’d easily see that HDDVD.com comes up as the source. Of course, as news sites reprint the press release text, HDDVD.com will start moving down on that list.

I’m curious to find out how the April Fool’s joke morphed into a newsworthy rumor. My best guess is that the full text of the article wasn’t passed around, or else more people would have caught on to the joke. It also confirms my suspicion that many people purely gamble in the stock market and have little idea what they’re investing in, and how to filter out good news from bad news, and in this case, real news from a joke.

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