Warner Bros. has announced that it will drop its support for HD DVD chosing instead to go exclusively with Sony's Blu-ray format.

The move which will happen later this year was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

"Warner Bros.’ move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want", said Meyer.

"The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers."

Toshiba has released a statement in response saying that it "is quite surprised by Warner Bros.' decision to abandon HD DVD in favour of Blu-ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD".

Warner Home Video however has said that it will only continue to release its titles in standard DVD format and Blu-ray.

After a short window following their standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be released in HD DVD until the end of May 2008.

The company blames the move on "A two-format landscape [that] has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry", said Tsujihara.

"Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience. Warner Bros. has worked very closely with the Toshiba Corporation in promoting high definition media and we have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future."

The news will come as a blow to the HD DVD camp, who do not enjoy the studio support that the Blu-ray format does.

According to Toshiba as central members of the DVD Forum, it has maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros. We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor.

The statement from the Japanese company goes on to say that "We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007".