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Warner Brothers, a film studio that had been supporting HD DVD, announced this week that it would release its upcoming movies on both HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. The announcement follows similar claim made by Paramount Pictures also made recently. While none of Blu-ray supporters actually supported HD DVD, Toshiba, the head of the standard development, said it was not worried with the decision.

“We recognize Warner Bros.’s participation in the Blu-ray Disc Association represents the studio's understandable commitment to listen to broad array of opinions and to continue to make technical evaluations of each format, and we are more than confident this will not affect timely introduction of HD DVD content to the market,” Toshiba said in a statement.

Sony, the biggest supporter and developer of the Blu-ray technology, claimed it had won the format battle with the HD DVD standard.

“With this, the format war is now over: five out of six Hollywood studios are supporting Blu-ray disc, which has a much larger market,” a Sony representative told Financial Times news-paper.

Sony claims that in addition to the growing support of Hollywood, the Blu-ray disc format has the assistance of companies accounting for 90% of the PC market, 80% of the games market and 90% of the consumer electronics market.

Still, not everything is calm in the Blu-ray camp: HP, the world’s second largest maker of personal computers recently asked the Blu-ray Disc Association to adopt certain technologies that are available only on the HD DVD currently. Bill Gates, chairman and co-founder of the world’s largest software maker Microsoft Corp., who backs HD DVD, recently called copyright protection functionality of the Blu-ray discs “anti-consumer”.

HD DVD discs can store up to 15GB on a single layer and up to 30GB on two layers. Its competitor, Blu-ray, can store up to 27GB per single layer as well as support a variety of additional features, including advanced copy-protection mechanisms, but Blu-ray discs are more expensive to produce. The HD DVD is pushed aggressively by Toshiba and NEC as well as being standardized at the DVD Forum, which represents over 230 consumer electronics, information technology, and content companies worldwide. Blu-ray is backed by Sony and Panasonic, the world’s No.1 and No.3 makers of electronics. Among Hollywood studios HD is supported by Warner Bros. Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures, whereas Sony Pictures, Walt Disney and Twentieth Century Fox endorse Blu-ray.

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