Blu-ray will win format war at end of 2008, predicts research firm

By Susanne Ault - Video Business, 1/7/2008

After Warner Bros. Entertainment's decision to release titles exclusively on Blu-ray Disc, research firm Understanding & Solutions forecasts that the high-definition format war will be resolved by the end of this year.

The company had recently projected that falling Blu-ray set-top pricing was hurting what advantages the HD DVD format enjoyed, leading Blu-ray to be in a strong position to be victorious eventually. But the Warner bombshell moved up that timetable considerably, according to the company.

"As we stand today, Warner Bros.' decision to shift from its dual-format position has brought much-needed clarity to the market and strengthens Blu-ray's hand considerably," said Jim Bottoms, co-managing director of Understanding & Solutions. "Looking ahead, the next six months will be critical for the future of high-definition discs. There's significant market potential for a packaged format, and with 75% of Hollywood studio disc releases exclusively behind Blu-ray from the end of May 2008, the confusion may soon be over. We should see an end to the format war within the year."

The company predicts that by 2011, high-def set-top penetration in the U.S should be at 36%.

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