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Thursday, February 21, 2008
Hollywood Lined Up Behind Blu-Ray

All six major Hollywood studios are now in the Blu-ray DVD camp, just two days after Toshiba pulled the plug on HD DVD.

Paramount Home Entertainment quietly came onboard via a statement issued Wednesday to The Hollywood Reporter: "We are pleased that the industry is moving to a single high-definition format, as we believe it is in the best interest of the consumer," the statement read. "As we look to (begin) releasing our titles on Blu-ray, we will monitor consumer adoption and determine our release plans accordingly."

Universal Studios Home Entertainment, in contrast, cast its lot with Blu-ray within hours of Toshiba's announcement Tuesday morning that it was ending the format war by ceasing the development, manufacture and marketing of HD DVD players by the end of March.

Universal had been exclusive with HD DVD since the format's launch in April 2006, while Paramount initially supported both HD DVD and Blu-ray. Paramount and DreamWorks switched to HD DVD-only in August, reportedly after receiving a $150 million payment from the format's supporters for "promotional consideration."

Neither studio has announced specific titles earmarked for early Blu-ray release, though both are expected to start with new theatricals coming the same day as the standard DVD, beginning in late spring or early summer.

The four other majors committed to Blu-ray are Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment (along with its distributed MGM Home Entertainment label), Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and Warner Home Video (including distributed labels New Line Home Entertainment, BBC Video and HBO Video). Mini-major Lionsgate also has been an exclusive Blu-ray backer since the start.

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