As someone who’s been following the high-def format war very closely, I was interested to hear today that Warner Brothers will support Blu-Ray exclusively beginning in May 2008. Why is this interesting? Well, for one, it means that 70% of the big studios have now gone Blu-Ray exclusive. Two, it means that this entire format war is now that much closer to being over. Here’s the Warner press release:
WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT TO RELEASE ITS HIGH-DEFINITION DVD TITLES EXCLUSIVELY IN THE BLU-RAY DISC FORMAT BEGINNING LATER THIS YEAR
Decision Made in Response to Strong Consumer Preference for Format
(January 4, 2008 – Burbank, CA) – 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.”
I’m sure there are a lot of you HD-DVD-philes out there right now who are royally pissed at this news. But, even for you, the news isn’t all bad. Now, as Blu-Ray gains more support from studios and the public, both HD-DVD players AND your favorite titles will be given away for free in boxes of Captain Crunch and Cracker Jacks. The savings!
We here at Move It Move It (“we” being myself and the janitor) applaud Warner Brothers and give this move…
…two thumbs up.