DVD Exclusive Online: "BLU-RAY GAINS WARNER
Studio expected to release titles on format
By Paul Sweeting and Scott Hettrick 10/20/2005
In the biggest victory yet for Sony and the backers of Blu-ray in the war over the next-gen high-def DVD, Warner Home Video is expected to announce Thursday that the studio is embracing its rival's platform.
Warner has been the primary studio backer of Toshiba's so-called HD DVD format, which is incompatible with Blu-ray.
The studio, which will continue to support HD DVD, has been threatening to release movies in both formats since last month (VideoBusiness.com, 10-2)
One of the two other major studios in the HD DVD camp, Paramount Home Entertainment, became the first studio to hedge its exclusivity with HD camp when it announced earlier this month that it would also publish movies on Blu-ray.
Warner was holding out for concessions by the Blu-ray group on a number of issues, particularly increased safeguards against unauthorized copying. Sources say the Blu-ray board voted at 5 p.m. Wednesday to approve revisions requested by Warner.
'This is something the HD DVD camp cannot recover from,' said one executive close to the negotiations.
But Toshiba, which has been aware of Warner's impending decision, is planning to go forward with the introduction next year of its competing high-def DVD.
'The studios have decided to allow consumers to decide, and that's a shame,' said one top studio exec."