All aboard the Blu-ray bandwagon

7 Jan 2008

Although there is still support for HD DVD in the battle of the high-definition disc formats, it seems that 2008 is Blu-ray’s year. Straight after Warner Bros Entertainment revealed it was switching exclusively to Blu-ray, New Line Cinema, which gave us The Lord of the Rings and The Golden Compass, confirmed that it too is making the leap.

Warner plans to stop selling its HD DVD titles from May, a blow for HD DVD which still has the allegiance of Universal Studios and the Xbox 360 and is currently the leading high-def format in the US with 750,000 HD DVD players bought in 2007.

However, Warner’s decision to change exclusively to Blu-ray is a long-term strategy designed to “give consumers what they want,” says Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.

“The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger,” he claimed, highlighting what he sees as an urgent need to take sides, unlike manufacturers such as Samsung who have hedged their bets by producing dual players.

“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,” added Meyer.

Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group seems to think Blu-ray has already won if consumer reaction is anything to go by: “Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray.”

Added to this, Blu-ray already has the support of Hollywood heavyweights including Disney, MGM and Twentieth Century Fox.

It remains to be seen whether HD DVD might go the way of Betamax while Blu-ray becomes the new VHS champion.

By Marie Boran