TOKYO Warner Bros. Entertainment, up to now a key HD-DVD backer among Hollywood studios, announced it would release films on the Blu-ray format as well.
The company has joined the board of directors of the Blu-ray Disc Association, whose members include Sony Corp. and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd.
A statement from the Blu-ray Disc Association said, "With the addition of Warner Bros., five of six major studios now support the Blu-ray Disc format, together representing approximately 80 percent of the Hollywood studios content."
Among six major Hollywood Studios-- Paramount Pictures, Sony Picture Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Pictures and Television, and Warner Bros.—all but Universal have announced support the BD format. Paramount, Universal and probably Warner will release HD-DVD titles.
Warner’s backing of Blu-ray confirmed earlier Japanese press reports indicating the media giant was leaning toward supporting the format. It also gives a glimmer of hope that some companies are choosing not to take sides in the ongoing battle between the two advanced optical disk formats.
On Wednesday, Blu-ray Disc Association member Hewlett Packard Corp., urged the rest of the group to incorporate two key technologies from HD-DVD to bridge the two formats.
One HD-DVD supporter, Toshiba, doesn’t expect Warner’s decision to affect its own roll-out plans.
"Toshiba and Warner Bros. continue to collaborate closely toward the commercial launch of HD-DVD," the company said in a statement. "We understand Warner Bros. continues to strongly support HD-DVD, due to its outstanding features, cost structures, and market readiness."
Toshiba will introduce a HD-DVD player in Japan by year’s end, though postponed the player’s introduction in the United Sates, originally planned for the same time.