In a massive blow to Toshiba’s HD-DVD hi-def disc format, content giant Warner Bros has announced that it is to release future HD movie content exclusively on Sony’s Blu-Ray format, with production of Toshiba’s HD-DVD discs to cease by May.
Warner chairman and CEO Barry Meyer said of the decision: "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."
It’s fantastic news for Sony, whose CEO Howard Stringer added: "It’s a good feeling. I’d like to thank Warner for making the decision to release in Blu-Ray their home video which is in the long-term interests of consumers."
Toshiba, unsurprisingly, is less impressed, with a statement from the firm reading: "Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros’ decision to abandon HD DVD in favour of Blu-Ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD-DVD.”
The news comes as Blu-Ray continues to outpace the performance of HD-DVD across the world – in Europe Sony’s format currently outsells Toshiba’s by around three-to-one. It now remains to be seen whether studios who still exclusively back HD-DVD, such as Paramount and DreamWorks, can hold their nerve.