Time Warner Inc's Warner Bros studio on Friday said it will limit releases on high-definition DVD to Sony Corp's Blu-ray format, giving a big blow to Toshiba Corp's rival HD DVD technology.
Warner, Hollywood's biggest seller of DVDs, currently releases movies in both formats, will drop HD DVD at the end of May, the studio said today in a statement. The HD DVD format, which is produced by Toshiba Corp., will be left with support from just two major studios, namely General Electric's Universal Pictures and Viacom Inc.'s Paramount Pictures.
While the other major studios including Warner Bros., Sony Corp., News Corp.'s Twentieth Century Fox, Lionsgate and Walt Disney Co. are already in exclusive agreements to produce DVD's in Blu-Ray format. Both sides of the format war have agreed it is confusing for consumers since the buyers of Blu-Ray DVD players cannot play movies issued in HD format, and vice versa.
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 Bros Chairman and Chief Executive Barry Meyer said.
Warner said it would continue releasing in the HD DVD format until the end of May, although those releases would follow the standard DVD and Blu-ray releases.
Sales in both format types have been slow, with only one million players of each format sold. According to Adams Media Research, high-definition disc sales represented less than 1 percent of the entire DVD market in 2007.
Consumers have so far purchased more HD DVD players than Blu-ray players, but Blu-ray holds a substantial lead in sales of software. This is also because Blu-ray player are built into Sony's PlayStation 3 game console which has had phenomenal sales.
Time Warner shares edged slightly higher in after hours trading, with a 3 cent 0.19 percent rise, to end at $15.94 on the New York Stock Exchange.