Warner Bros is abandoning HD-DVD to settle down in monogamous bliss with Sony's Blu-ray. The company today cited "consumer demand" for its decision to stop selling HD-DVD-format movie titles at the end of May. It is the only movie major to sell high-definition DVDs in both formats, but has already tired of playing the field.
Kevin Tsujihara, president of Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group, said the two formats caused "consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry. Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience."
In a nod to Toshiba, HD-DVD's architect, Tsujihara said, "Warner worked closely with the Toshiba Corporation in promoting high definition media and we have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future".
Cold comfort to Toshiba, which was "quite surprised" by today's news. "We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD-DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD-DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007," the company said.
"We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD-DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps. We remain firm in our belief that HD-DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer."
Hardly fighting talk, although this is not the Japanese way. But how can the HD-DVD camp overcome Warner Bros' defection?
From where we are sitting, it is looking ever more likely that Sony is the winner, for once, in a format war.