Universal says will now switch to Blu-Ray standard

LOS ANGELES Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:29pm EST

A man stands beside a rack of Blu-ray disc movies inside a DVD rental shop in Taipei February 18, 2008. General Electric Co's Universal Pictures, one of a few studios using the Toshiba Corp-backed HD DVD format, said on Tuesday it will switch to the rival Blu-ray format now that Toshiba has officially pulled the plug on HD DVD. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

A man stands beside a rack of Blu-ray disc movies inside a DVD rental shop in Taipei February 18, 2008. General Electric Co's Universal Pictures, one of a few studios using the Toshiba Corp-backed HD DVD format, said on Tuesday it will switch to the rival Blu-ray format now that Toshiba has officially pulled the plug on HD DVD.

Credit: Reuters/Nicky Loh

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - General Electric Co's (GE.N) Universal Pictures, one of a few studios using the Toshiba Corp-backed (6502.T) HD DVD format, said on Tuesday it will switch to the rival Blu-ray format now that Toshiba has officially pulled the plug on HD DVD.

Officials from other HD DVD backers, like Viacom Inc's VIAb.N Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc DWA.N, had no immediate comment.

"The path for widespread adoption of the next-generation platform has finally become clear," Craig Kornblau, President, Universal Studios Home Entertainment and Universal Pictures Digital Platforms, said in a statement.

"The emergence of a single, high-definition format is cause for consumers, as well as the entire entertainment industry, to celebrate. While Universal values the close partnership we have shared with Toshiba, it is time to turn our focus to releasing new and catalog titles on Blu-ray," he said.

Universal Pictures had no further comment.

Toshiba finally threw in the towel on Tuesday after losing support of key studios and retailers to the Blu-ray technology backed by Sony Corp (6758.T).

Both sides had aimed to set the standard for the next generation of discs, but the fight had only confused shoppers.

A key turning point in the war came last month when Time Warner Inc's (TWX.N) Warner Bros, which had backed both formats, decided to support Blu-ray exclusively.

Since then, big U.S. retailers also aligned with Blu-ray, including Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT.N), Best Buy Co Inc (BBY.N) and online video rental company Netflix Inc (NFLX.O).

(Reporting by Sue Zeidler; Editing by Gary Hill)

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