Warner goes Blu

January 4, 2008 1:34:12 PM PST
Warner Bros. Entertainment said Friday it will release high-definition DVDs only in the Blu-ray disc format, becoming the latest studio to reject the rival HD DVD technology and further complicating the high-definition landscape for consumers. Warner Bros., owned by Time Warner Inc., had been releasing high-definition DVDs in both formats. Hollywood studios have been split on which of the two formats to back.

Both formats deliver crisp, clear pictures and sound. But they are incompatible with each other, and neither plays on older DVD players, which means consumers seeking top-quality playback face a dilemma when selecting a new DVD player.

Warner said it decided to go with Blu-ray because consumers have shown a stronger preference for that format than HD DVD.

"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger," Barry Meyer.

Warner Bros.' chairman and chief executive, said 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," the statement said.

The studio said it would make the change this year, though Warner Home Video will continue to release new titles in HD DVD until the end of May.

Other studios that have decided to go with Blu-ray include The Walt Disney Co., Sony Corp.'s Sony Pictures, News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Viacom's Paramount Pictures, which also owns DreamWorks SKG, dropped its support for Blu-ray and said it would start distributing films exclusively in the HD DVD format.

Universal Pictures, a unit of General Electric, also releases films only in HD DVD.