Warner Bros. dumps HD DVD; to release its films exclusively on Blu-ray

“Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio Friday said it would exclusively release high-definition DVDs in Sony Corp’s Blu-ray format, dealing a big blow to Toshiba Corp’s rival HD DVD technology,” Kenneth Li and Bob Tourtellotte report for Reuters.

“Warner Bros, Hollywood’s biggest seller of DVDs, representing about 18 to 20% of sales in the United States, was one of the few studios that backed both formats,” Li and Tourtellotte report.

Full article here.

Warner Bros. press release verbatim:

In response to consumer demand, Warner Bros. Entertainment will release its high-definition DVD titles exclusively in the Blu-ray disc format beginning later this year, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

“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 Meyer. “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 Home Video will continue to release its titles in standard DVD format and Blu-ray. After a short window following their standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be released in HD DVD until the end of May 2008.

“Warner Bros. has produced in both high-definition formats in an effort to provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,” said Jeff Bewkes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner Inc., the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. “Today’s decision by Warner Bros. to distribute in a single format comes at the right time and is the best decision both for consumers and Time Warner.”

“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,” said Tsujihara. “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.”

Source: http://www.warnerbros.com/

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Unfettered” for the heads up.]

48 Comments

  1. Why do people prefer one format over they other, it’s really like saying “I prefer DVD-R to DVD+R”?

    One might prefer Blu-ray because it’s in PS3, but otherwise? And both formats play VC-1 (formerly WMV-HD) so being anti-Microsoft doesn’t cut the mustard.

    The real story is how much — in real US dollars — did it cost Sony (and the Blu-ray consortium) to pay Warner Bros.? Was it more or less or the same as HD-DVD crowd paid Paramount and Dreamworks to go exclusive to their format.

    Current status of HD format war: the two big dual-format publishers have been paid to take sides, how does this help the consumer? Idiots!

  2. USofG with the first conspiracy theory about a Warner payoff! You win.. wait, turns out BluRay has been outselling HDDVD since inception at about a 3 to 1 ratio. This is a rational business decision and hopefully the confusion and flame wars can end. It’s all about the PS3, if you want to blame somebody for HDDVD’s demise, blame Microsoft for not building it into the 360. My $.02.

  3. If you see a new Blu-ray 1.1 player output an H.264-encoded disc at 1080/24p via HDMI to a new 1080/24p LCD with 120Hz, you will become a believer.

    (Check out “Ratatouille” for example, but YOU HAVE TO USE THE ABOVE SETUP EXACTLY — anything less involves degradation of the picture.)

    And you will see the need for Apple to release an AppleTV or Mac mini with a Blu-ray player built-in: the best of both worlds, and the only device you would ever need hooked up to your TV. (Write to Steve!)

    We’re a LONG way off from 30GB 1080p downloads, so until then it’s iTunes for rentable, disposable entertainment and Blu-ray when quality counts.

    (FYI, the only player that meets the above specs in the Panasonic BD30 and the best TV is the Sony XBR4 with 120Hz. Really, anything less than this and you’re watching garbage.)

  4. @United States of Generica

    HD-DVD’s software for menus, interactivity etc is Microsoft’s exclusively. Blu-ray uses Java.

    The reason I’m a Blu-ray proponent is purely mathematical: 25GB per layer is a whole lot more than 15GB. That’s higher bit rates, longer movies, more extras, and a lot easier to burn more data on consumer BD-Rs down the road.

    Easy, see?

  5. In truth, Not That Steve, Blu-ray has only been outselling HD-DVD since the PS3 got some traction, not since its inception.

    Moreover, the lack of sales of dedicated Blu-ray players versus larger (but still tiny) sales of dedicated HD-DVD players meant that HD-DVD was still in the game — i.e. to many it looked like Blu-ray was format for PS3 players and HD-DVD was the format for everyone else, and the question was which would grow largest first.

    What a stupid format war by two groups who should’ve buried the hatchet when they had the chance, repeating history (similar thing nearly happened with DVD) and they would both be making a heap of cash and all consumers would be buying “HD” discs in droves and they would’ve both made a huge pile of money, instead that both have sales that don’t yet outnumber (current) VHS sales. Idiots!

  6. USofG, with all due respect, according to trade publication Home Media Magazine, BluRay has outsold HDDVD discs since inception at a three to one ratio (approximately). They print the latest graphic on the front page every issue.

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