Saturday, January 5, 2008

Warner Bros. picks Blu-Ray

Warner Bros. announced Friday that it is abandoning HDTV DVDs and will make Blu-Ray its HD format of choice.
In a written statement issued by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO of Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, President of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, the two said the company will continue to release in HD TV until May.
Here's their complete statement:

“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 high-definition DVD 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 format and Blu-ray. After a short window following their standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be released in HD DVD until the end of May 2008.

“Warner Bros. has produced in both high-definition formats in an effort to provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,” said Jeff Bewkes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner Inc., the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. “Today’s decision by Warner Bros. to distribute in a single format comes at the right time and is the best decision both for consumers and Time Warner.”

“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. Warner Bros. has worked very closely with the Toshiba Corporation in promoting high definition media and we have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”

What does this all mean? It means the battle for the HD format isn't over, but the tide is toward Blu-ray with only two companies -- Paramount and Universal -- releasing in HD TV.

Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox and Disney release their high-definition videos exclusively for Blu-ray, which is owned by Sony. Paramount and Universal Pictures release for HD DVD -- which is backed by Toshiba and Microsoft. The WB is the biggest seller of DVDs, with 18 to 20 percent of the market, according to the AP.

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