Warner dumps HD DVD and goes Blu-ray exclusive! Format war over? Blu-ray triumphant?

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warner-bros-dumps-hd-dvd.jpgUh-oh. Set the internet to RED ALERT – the HD DVD and Blu-ray war just might be about to end, thanks to Hollywood heavyweight Warner deciding to go Blu-ray exclusive in 2008.

In a press release over on its official site, Warner Bros. has dramatically kicked all HD DVD owners to the kerb – and announced it’s going Blu-ray exclusive from May of 2008.

The world-ending press release starts like this:

“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.”

Basically, it says going single-format is a strategic decision – ending the war gives consumers one choice, one format, and makes it a hell of a lot more likely that people will switch over and upgrade to an HD movie player rather than stick it out with good old DVDs.

So is this it? Has Blu-ray won? Has Warner just dropped the H-Bomb on the HD DVD camp that’ll bring about its unconditional surrender? Did millions of dollars just change hands? And is Bill Gates’ CES keynote speech about to be hurriedly rewritten?

Read the full Warner Bros. Blu-ray press release after the jump:

Warner Bros. Entertainment to Release its High-Definition DVD Titles Exclusively in the Blu-Ray Disc Format Beginning Later This Year

January 04, 2008

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.”

Gary Cutlack

3 comments

  • Where’s Kat? ;o)

    Go Sony. Hopefully Paramount will walk away from the deal it made with HD-DVD last year (that was the 150 mill. bribe). No doubt they had a get-out clause put in…….

  • Awesome. Best tech news we’ve had in months, if not years. Not only will this help Sony win the HD format war, and soon, but it will also add to the PS3’s increasing success (much needed, I have to admit).

    BTW, we will soon read about alleged “bribes” paid to Warner by Sony. Those people will have forgotten the very real and humungous bribe of $150million M$ paid another movie company late last year to stay HD-DVD. Wasted money now….

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