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Universal chooses Blu-ray

In one of the least surprising turns of events, the studio says it will end its association with HD DVD and produce titles on Blu-ray Disc.

Clearly seeing the writing on the wall, Universal said today it will drop its support for HD DVD and instead produce its high-definition films on Blu-ray Disc.

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

The announcement from Universal comes only hours after Toshiba said it would no longer produce HD DVD players. As Toshiba was the only hardware manufacturer producing standalone HD DVD players, its exit leaves little choice for the remaining members of the HD DVD Promotional Group.

The only other major studio still contracted to support HD DVD is Paramount, which is widely expected by industry insiders to make a similar pledge of allegiance to Blu-ray by the end of the week.

But while Paramount used to support both Blu-ray and HD DVD, Universal has always been in the HD DVD camp. That means it likely has much more work ahead of it to switch from HD DVD and produce discs in the Blu-ray format for the very first time.