Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is supposed to be among the new and slightly delayed crop of HD-DVD titles from Warner Home Video, and I’ve recently heard a conspiracy theory about the recently-issued regular-format DVD of this title from some staffers at a popular Los Angeles DVD store. The resolution on this DVD isn’t especially great…a little soft and unsatisfying, as if the people who mastered it didn’t really give it their best shot. (DVD Talk‘s Holly Ordway has written that it “looks good, but not as good as I expected, given that it’s a high-profile release…the main issue that I noticed is that the contrast feels a bit ‘off’…in a number of scenes, the contrast feels too heavy, so that we lose detail in dark areas of the scene, and in others it seems like there’s not enough contrast.”) And the theory going around is that Warner Home Video has sorta kinda allowed this second-rate DVD to go out in this fashion so that the HD-DVD version will look all the better. I don’t buy this — I don’t think Warner Home Video executives have it in them to be this baldly conniving about it…there’s no room in a big corporation for Snidely Whiplash-type scheming of this nature…but it’s indicative of the anti-corporate paranoid culture we live in that rational, level-headed DVD-loving clerks are telling each other this story and half-believing it.