Warner Backs Blu-ray
January 4, 2008 12:57 PM
Warner Bros. has swung into the Sony Blu-ray camp.
The company announced that “in response to consumer demand,” it will release its high-definition home video titles exclusively in the Blu-ray format starting later this year.
“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 Barry Meyer, chairman-CEO, Warner Bros. “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.”
Blu-ray outsold the Toshiba-backed rival HD DVD format by more than a 2-to-1 margin during most of 2007. Warner Bros. currently issues titles in both formats.
“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,” Kevin Tsujihara, president of the Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, said.
“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,” he added. “Warner Bros. has worked very closely with the Toshiba Corp. 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.”
In short: If you received an HD DVD player for Christmas, you might want to ask for a receipt.
UPDATE: Warner Bros. responds: "Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros.' decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray ... We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007.We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps."