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Thursday, October 28, 2004
First Blood in the New DVD War

The Toshiba-backed high-definition format may soon get support from three major Hollywood studios. That could put Sony's team in a tight spot.

For months, rival electronics giants Toshiba and Sony (SNE ) have been battling over the next generation of DVD. Now, in what amounts to the first major victory in that standards war, three Hollywood studios are expected to announce within the next week that they'll release some of their movies on the high-definition DVD format that Toshiba is promoting. That could turn out to be a severe blow to the future of the Blu-ray standard, which Sony has been pushing with a coalition that includes most of the industry's largest computer and consumer-electronic makers.

An announcement by Warner Bros. (TWX ), Universal (GE ), and Paramount about their adoption of this format by the end of 2005 is in the works, BusinessWeek Online has learned. Disney (DIS ) is also said to be in talks with Toshiba, although Eisner & Co. aren't close to a deal. Warner Bros., Universal, and Disney declined comment, and a Paramount spokesman didn't return phone calls.

Toshiba acknowledged that it has "been receiving a positive response from several studios" but that it "is not in a position to comment on behalf of the studios."

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