Toshiba and its partners gained a much-needed boost in the next-generation DVD format war after Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation said they would exclusively support HD DVD.
Originally a backer of HD DVD, Paramount switched to support both formats before their debut last year. But today's decision to drop the rival Blu-ray format is a blow to Sony and its partners, who have scored some valuable points recently in the tussle in high-definition DVDs.
Movies distributed by Paramount Pictures, DreamWorks Animation and Pictures, Paramount Vantage, Nickelodeon Movies and MTV Films will be released exclusively in HD DVD, the companies said in a statement late Monday.
The move will include DreamWorks Animation's blockbuster "Shrek the Third". The announcement does not include films directed by Steven Spielberg as his films are not exclusive to either format.
They said the decision reflected "the clear benefits of HD DVD, particularly its market-ready technology and lower manufacturing costs."
"I believe HD DVD is not only the affordable high quality choice for consumers, but also the smart choice for Paramount," said Brad Grey, chairman and chief executive of Paramount Pictures, which is a unit of Viacom Inc.
Toshiba hailed Paramount's decision to shun Blu-ray.
"These decisions reflect Paramount and Dreamworks Animation's understanding of the present value and future potential that HD DVD brings to home entertainment," said Toshiba senior vice president Yoshihide Fujii.
On the other hand, the Blu-ray camp has notched up some victories against its rivals recently, including votes of support from US movie rental leader Blockbuster and US retailer Target.