Last week, Warner Brothers announced that it will release its high-definition titles exclusively in Blu-ray Disc format as of May, dropping all production of HD DVD formatted titles.
Up until this point, Warner Bros. has released titles in both HD DVD and Blu-ray formats in order to “provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,” according to Jeff Bewkes, President and CEO of Time Warner Inc. With this move, Warner will marshall all of its manufacturing and marketing muscle behind the Blu-ray format.
Reports posted on engadget.com indicate that Blu-ray has earned a decisive advantage over HD DVD, particularly in light of Blockbuster’s decision late last year to stock only Blu-ray releases in most of its retail stores (HD DVD offerings are still available for rental online). Blockbuster's decision stemmed from the fact that 70 percent of high-def rentals were in Blu-ray format. On another retail front, Target stores will sell only Blu-ray players, leaving HD DVD proponents like Toshiba with less of a market presence.
Last week's Warner Bros. press release quotes Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO as saying, “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.”
Warner’s announcement caused quite a buzz among the media press at this year's Consumer Electronic's Show, held in Las Vegas, NV, January 7-10. But Toshiba wasn't ready to admit defeat at its pre-show briefing to the press. Jodi Sally, Toshiba VP of A/V Marketing noted that the fourth quarter of 2007 was the strongest financial showing for HD DVD and emphasized that she still thinks the format is the best option for consumers.