LAS VEGAS - The International Consumer Electronics Show is turning out to be a celebration party for Blu-ray, the high-definition format that Sony Corp. backed, and a wake for a rival movie disc technology pushed by Toshiba Corp.
Just two months ago, Sony CEO Howard Stringer said the fight between Blu-ray and Toshiba’s HD DVD was at a “stalemate,” and expressed a wish to travel back in time to avert it.
The impasse was broken Friday by Warner Bros. Entertainment, the last major studio to put out movies in both formats. It announced it was ditching HD DVD, and from May on, would publish only on Blu-ray and traditional DVD.
The decision puts a strong majority of the major studios, five versus two, in the Blu-ray camp.
Asked Monday at the show if the Warner announcement decides the format war, Stringer said: “I never put up banners that say ‘Mission Accomplished.’ ” But his cheerful delivery belied his words.
By contrast, the main media event scheduled for the show by the North American HD DVD Promotional Group, which includes Intel Corp. and Microsoft Corp., was canceled because of Warner’s defection.
“We are currently discussing the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluating next steps,” the group said in a statement.
The shift in the format struggle isn’t a reason to run out and buy Blu-ray players, however: Today’s players can’t take advantage of the features planned for future Blu-ray discs.
On Monday, Panasonic parent Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. demonstrated prototypes that can handle the new interactive features coming to Blu-ray.