Minggu, 06 Januari 2008

Sony's Blu-ray seen winning DVD format war: Japanese media (AFP)

TOKYO (AFP) - The Blu-ray format has gained the upper hand in the battle for next-generation DVD supremacy, Japanese press said Sunday, after Warner Bros. said it would only support the technology developed by Sony.

The announcement dealt a hard blow to the HD-DVD format, promoted by a group led by Japanese electronics giant Toshiba, which the press said may now be hard-pressed to regain momentum among consumers.

"With Warner Bros siding with the Blu-ray group, the battle over the next generation DVD standard is gradually becoming a one-sided game," said the Asahi Shimbun.

Warner Bros., which previously supported both formats, announced on Friday that it would release its films exclusively in Blu-ray beginning later this year, "in response to consumer demand".

Blu-ray will enjoy exclusive support from four of the six major Hollywood movie studios, with only Universal Pictures and Paramount Pictures supporting HD-DVD.

The battle between the two incompatible DVD formats is often dubbed as a "replay" of the VHS-Betamax battle between two types of video cassette tape in the late 1970s.

Warner Bros. said the competition has confused consumers, who grew reluctant to purchase next-generation machines, causing DVD firms to miss out on potentially lucrative opportunities.

Toshiba is now expected to further promote installation of HD-DVD drives in personal computers, targeting users who watch movies on their PCs, the Nikkei business daily said.

"The core of its turn-around plan is to capture those who watch DVDs on personal computers, a popular practice in the United States," the newspaper said.

Along with Warner, the Blu-ray camps major supporters include Walt Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, as well as US movie rental leader Blockbuster, Japanese electronics firm Panasonic and South Korean giant Samsung.

HD-DVD receives support from DreamWorks Animation and various high-tech firms including Microsoft and Intel.

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