PS3 benefits as Warner Bros signs exclusively to Blu-ray
By Stevie Smith Jan 5, 2008, 6:09 GMT
Warner Bros deals a blow to HD-DVD by signing exclusively to Blu-ray. Credit: Blu-ray.
Finally climbing down from the high-definition fence, media giant Time Warner Inc. has confirmed that movie titles produced by the Warner Bros studio will be released exclusively on the Blu-ray video format from May of 2008.
Prior to yesterday’s announcement, Warner Bros had been one of only a few studios to be hedging its bets in the HD market by backing both Blu-ray and HD-DVD. However, the shift towards Sony’s Blu-ray drive will now likely deliver an uncomfortable gut punch to Toshiba Corp’s HD-DVD format and leave it trailing even further behind Blu-ray in terms of studio support.
"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger," outlined Warner Bros Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer in a statement. "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."
Also, the decision by Warner Bros to shift focus to the Blu-ray drive (which is bundled as standard with the PlayStation 3 videogames console) will cost HD-DVD dearly in content strength. Specifically, Warner Bros is Hollywood’s leading DVD seller, amassing some 20 percent of total DVD sales in the United States.
Warner Bros now joins alongside the likes of 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, and Lionsgate in providing singular support for Blu-ray, leaving Paramount Pictures and NBC Universal as offering exclusive backing for HD-DVD, reports Reuters.
"While Warner’s decision is a setback for HD-DVD, the consumer has benefited from HD-DVD’s commitment to quality and affordability – a bar that is critical for the mainstream success of any format," commented the companies making up the HD-DVD Promotional Group by way of response. "We believe widespread adoption of a next generation format will ultimately be determined by the consumer."
The group has also revealed the postponement of its upcoming press conference at the CES 2008 show in Las Vegas, which was due to take place on January 06 at 8:30pm in the Wyn Hotel.
Apologising for any inconvenience caused, the group said it is "currently discussing the potential impact of this [Warner Bros’] announcement with the other HD-DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps."
In explaining the sudden move towards Blu-ray, Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group president Kevin Tsujihara pointed out that consumers "have clearly chosen Blu-ray" and that the continuance of a two-format landscape has only 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."