Warner Bros. moves to Blu-ray camp exclusively

In a move that could upset the balance between the competing high-definition disc formats yet again, Warner Home Video today said that it is switching its allegiance entirely to the Blu-ray camp, in an effort to reduce confusion.

Beginning next May, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced late this afternoon, it will cease releasing new movie titles on the HD DVD format, preferring Blu-ray exclusively.

In a statement this afternoon, Warner executives blamed the existence of two formats in the market for customer confusion, which it now believes can only be clarified by choosing one and sticking with it.

"A two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition," stated WHE President Kevin Tsujihara this afternoon, "which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry. 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."

The move marks an apparent split between Warner and Toshiba, the champion of the HD DVD format and a long-time technology partner. Warner thanked Toshiba for its cooperation in the past.

Warner Bros. CEO Barry Meyer added this: "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 was the last studio to support both Blu-ray and HD DVD formats concurrently, making its dual support clear as recently as last September. Last August, Paramount ended its experiment with fence straddling, moving exclusively to HD DVD.

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