Warner Bros. Entertainment has announced that is has sided exclusively with Blu-Ray as its high-definition video format of choice beginning later this year, as it phases out HD DVD production by May of 2008.
The announcement was jointly made by Warner Chairman and CEO Barry Meyer and Warner Bros. Entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara. In a statement, Warner confirmed that it would continue to release titles in both Blu-Ray and standard DVD for the foreseeable future.
Meyer categorized the decision as one "focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want."
"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger," he said. "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."
In June of last year, the company delayed its initiative
to produce discs containing both formats until 2008, saying in part the decision was meant to give retailers more of an opportunity to designate new sections for the double-format.
Video rental giant Blockbuster also sided exclusively with Blu-Ray
last year, saying the format was chosen more than 70 percent of the time in trial stores that offered both. HD DVD discs will still be available via its online rental service.
Paramount and Dreamworks remain two of the largest studios to side with HD DVD
, with DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg saying, "We believe the combination of this year's low-priced HD DVD players and the commitment to release a significant number of hit titles in the fall makes HD DVD the best way to view movies at home."
Said Warner's Tsujihara, "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."
He concluded, "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."