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Warner favors Blu-ray format for next HD titles

Posted: 08 Jan 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Blu-ray? HD DVD? DVD Forum?

Warner Bros. Entertainment will release its high-definition (HD) DVD titles exclusively in the Blu-ray disc format later this year. Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, president, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group made the announcement.

"Warner Bros.' move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want," said Meyer. "The window of opportunity for HD DVDs could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers and most importantly, consumers."

Warner Home Video will continue to release its titles in standard DVD and Blu-ray formats. After a short window following its standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be launched in HD DVDs until end of May.

"A two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry," said Tsujihara. "Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience."

Regarding its close partnership with Toshiba Corp. in promoting HD media, Tsujihara noted, "We have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future."

Disappointed party
Toshiba, in a separate announcement, said that it is quite surprised by Warner Bros.' decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, despite various contracts in place between the companies concerning the support of HD DVD.

"As central members of the DVD Forum, we have long maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros.," said the company. "We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format, as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor."

In its statement, Toshiba said it was particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the U.S. market as well as other regions in 2007. According to the company, HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the U.S. market last year.

Toshiba said it would assess the potential impact of the announcement made by Warner Bros.'s with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps.

"We remain firm in our belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer," added Toshiba.

During a press event at CES on Sunday (Jan. 6), Toshiba executives issued comments regarding the matter. (View video below.)

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