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Warner to announce dual-format Total HD disc

At next week's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Warner Bros. plans to announce its so-called Total DVD disc, which can play films in both Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats.

Executives at Time Warner and its Hollywood subsidiary hope to spur sales of new DVD players and movies by gaining the support of retailers and cajoling rival studios into making their film and television libraries available in both formats on a single disc.

Barry M. Meyer, the chairman and CEO of Warner Bros, said in an interview with The New York Times that the company came up with the Total HD disc after concluding that neither Blu-ray nor HD-DVD was going the way of Betamax anytime soon.

“The next best thing is to recognize that there will be two formats and to make that not a negative for the consumer,” Mr. Meyer said. “We felt that the most significant constituency for us to satisfy was the consumer first, and the retailer second. The retailer wants to sell hardware and doesn’t want to be forced into stocking two formats for everything. This is ideal for them.”

Jeffrey L. Bewkes, the president of Time Warner, is quoted by the New York Times as saying that the Total HD disc has a better chance of catching on than dual players. Research commissioned by Warner indicates that consumers are willing to pay several dollars more than current high-definition DVDs for a disc that works on both players.

The Total HD disc will not accommodate a standard DVD version though, several months ago, the company filed patents for a new disc incorporating all three formats, which it said it could produce in the future.

Story filed 04.01.07

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