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Ex-Warner Home Video boss blasts Sony

Blu-ray vs HD DVD = PS3 vs Xbox 360

The battle between the next-generation games consoles will determine the winner of the fight between the next-generation optical disc formats.

So claimed the former president of Warner Home Video, Warren Lieberfarb, this week, as he slammed Sony's strategy to help Blu-ray Disc (BD) to beat HD DVD. Ironically, Warner itself is playing it safe by backing both BD and HD DVD.

Lieberfarb's concern is that Sony is turning the optical disc battle into the console fight, and vice versa. And with Microsoft tossing its hat in the ring on the side of HD DVD, he's probably right. Certainly, Sony's decision to equip the PS3 with a BD drive will have helped many a content company come down on the side of BD.

"If I put Blu-Ray in PlayStation and I don't license it to Microsoft for Xbox and I get all the studios to only publish in PlayStation, I'll beat Microsoft in the next-generation games market," said Lieberfarb, speaking at the European Video Perspectives conference in Biarritz, France.

"Hollywood blew it. They got duped," Lieberfarb claimed. "They could have created the format that optimised their creative interests. It looks like we lost, because there are six studios supporting Blu-Ray and only three supporting HD-DVD.

"We've been sucked into PlayStation versus Xbox," he said.

And there's no doubt on which side of the fence Lieberfarb sits - he called on the video industry to back HD DVD and, by his own argument, Microsoft and Xbox. At Warner Home Video, which he quit in 2002, Lieberfarb helped launch the DVD format. These days he runs a media and technology consultancy, and sits on the board of Sirius Digital Radio.

"Convergence is here, everything is digital, the Internet is going to deliver video, you are going to want to pass information from one device to another, and HD-DVD versus Blu-Ray is really the first battle in the issue of who controls the home," he said.

Indeed. Sony or Microsoft - take your pick... ®

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