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Toshiba said Monday that four major Hollywood studios have signed on to release titles in the HD (high-definition) DVD format, a decision that should have a significant impact on the next-generation DVD Forum battle.

Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Studios all released commitments to support the HD DVD format, Toshiba Ltd. executives announced Monday at a news conference in Tokyo.

Universal said it would have “select” titles available in the format during the 2005 holiday season, while Paramount Home Entertainment said it plans to release titles from its home entertainment catalog, as well as new releases, in the HD DVD format beginning in 2006.

The studios and other content providers are seen as key influencers in the format wars, following the argument that consumers will choose to buy movies, not a particular format of optical disc.

“The key driver here is, as you know, that new-release titles determine the success of a new format,” Tom Lesinski, president of worldwide home entertainment for the Motion Picture Group of Paramount Pictures, said in an interview.

However, the commitments are not exclusive endorsements, representatives from both Universal and Paramount said. Universal is “still in discussions” with Sony and the Blu-Ray camp, and will release titles under the Blu-Ray specification if the market can’t settle on a single format, a Universal Pictures spokesman said.

The decision pits the four studios directly against Sony Corp., whose storage division helped develop the rival Blu-Ray specification. Sony Pictures has said it would release its own content in the Blu-Ray format, and that it plans to support the next-gen DVD specification in its next PlayStation console.

Microsoft Corp. has yet to specify which DVD format it will endorse for the next revision of its Xbox console.

Read the full story on ExtremeTech: Four Hollywood Studios Back HD DVD Format