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And Batman smash!
Ever since Warner Bros. bitch-slapped HD-DVD last week, announcing that they would be dropping the high-def format in favor of Blu-Ray exclusivity, people have been keeping their eyes on Paramount to see what they’ll do next. The London Financial Times is running a story saying that it’s very possible the studio will use a “get out” clause in it’s contract that would allow them to either dump HD-DVD or go format neutral. It’s also been reported that Paramount/DreamWorks will not be announcing any new high-def titles at CES, although they are “still supporting HD-DVD.” I’m sure no one should worry or take this as a sign that Paramount is going to drop HD-DVD faster than the New York Jets drop footballs. There should be a lot more on this tomorrow.
In response to Warner Brothers’ announcement that, beginning June 1, 2008, they will dump HD-DVD to exclusively support the Blu-Ray high definition format, Toshiba had this to say:
“TOKYO — Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros.’ decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD. As central members of the DVD Forum, we have long maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros. We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor.
We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007.
We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps. We remain firm in our belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer.”
Variety has an interesting article (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117978461.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1), with one interesting piece of information: HD-DVD has cancelled it’s Sunday night press event at CES this weekend. There are a lot of people saying that, after this weekend, HD-DVD has gone the way of Betamax, Laser Disc, and the wok. Not a moment too soon. Again…
… two thumbs up.
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.