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Warner backs Blu-ray

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Film studio Warner Brothers yesterday announced plans to produce high-definition DVDs in the Blu-ray format backed by Sony as well as the rival HD DVD standard backed by Toshiba. The commitment to both camps by Warner follows a similar fence-sitting move by Paramount Home Entertainment three weeks ago. Universal Studios, the third studio that lined up to back the HD DVD format is also expected to follow suit.

Marsha King, the executive vice president for new business development at Warner Home Video, said it wanted to make its movies available to as many consumers as possible. The studio is now satisfied that copy protection technologies included within Blu-ray will satisfy its requirements.

Disney, Fox and Lion's Gate and Sony Pictures have pitched their lot in with the Blu-ray group while eschewing Toshiba's format. Left unchecked this would give the Blu-ray camp an advantage over its rival as the format that offers consumers the widest possible choice of movies. Toshiba's technology is an extension of existing DVD technologies and expected to be cheaper and easier to manufacture. However Blu-ray promises extra capacity and the backing of consumer vendors such as Sony, Panasonic and Samsung who can be expected to throw their marketing muscle behind its launch. ®

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