No Wonder Warner Went Blu

Dennis Faas's picture

Just months after it appeared Paramount's decision to exclusively back Toshiba's HD-DVD would save the format from what seemed an inevitable demise, Sony's Blu-ray is again threatening to snuff out its competition. Sales figures peg Blu-ray movie titles well ahead of the competition with the 2007 holiday season now just another footnote in the history books.

According to statistics filtering out of the Blu-ray Disc Association's recent press event, Sony's format outsold the competition from HD-DVD by 2-to-1 when it came to total 2007 movie sales. Moreover, there was not a single week during that year where HD-DVD movies managed to outsell their competition from Blu-ray, evidence that even Paramount's decision failed to have the effect Toshiba would have hoped.(Source:

And yet, the sales figures may not even be the most concerning for HD-DVD and its supporters. Just when it seemed the high definition movie war was far from over, yet another monumental studio move has driven Blu-ray one battle closer to victory. In a surprise turn of events this past week, Warner Bros. announced it would release future films exclusively on Sony's format, dealing a considerable blow to Toshiba and Microsoft's HD-DVD.

The news is surprising, given the momentum for HD-DVD over the course of the last half of 2007. During that period the format successfully snatched up an exclusive deal with Paramount, giving it the rights to notable new releases Transformers and Shrek 3. (Source:

That's left Toshiba's executive brass feeling that they can afford the Warner loss. In responding to reporters at a briefing during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Toshiba America Consumer Products president Akiyo Ozaka pleaded that his company "has not lost" the HD war.

Unfortunately for owners of Toshiba's HD-DVD players or Microsoft's HD-DVD Xbox 360 add-on, Ozaka was plainly at a loss for words when asked what his company planned to do about Warner's decision. That lack of foresight could lead other studios to follow Warner down the Blu-ray road.

Clearly a bit shaken, Ozaka did tell the media, "We were very disappointed with Warner Brothers' announcement...Sales of HD DVD were very good last year". (Source:

For a technological battle that changes almost every week and has been compared to the bitter 1980s rivalry between VHS and Betamax, that kind of backwards thinking may not be enough to prevent what is beginning to look like an inevitable Blu-ray victory party.

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