CES - It's good to be blue, says Sony's Stringer

Two days after Warner Bros. announced plans to back Blu-ray Disc -- a decision that could prove pivotal in the high-def disc format battle -- Sony CEO Howard Stringer thanked the company and other Blu-ray Disc backers for supporting the format.

"As you can probably guess, all of us at Sony are feeling blue today," Stringer quipped as he took to the stage at a news conference held at the International Consumer Electronics Show. "But that's a good feeling."

On Friday Warner Bros. said it would stop issuing its movies on HD DVD later this year and go solely with Blu-ray Disc. Warner had been the only major Hollywood studio to back both formats, and with its shift exclusively to the Blu-ray Disc camp, leaves just Paramount and Universal as backers of HD DVD.

"I'd like to thank Warner for making the decision to release in Blu-ray their home video and to [Time Warner CEO] Jeff Bewkes and [Warner Bros. Entertainment CEO] Barry Meyer for making the decision, as they said in their press release, in the long-term interests of consumer and customer," he said. Stringer also took the opportunity to thank Blu-ray's existing backers for being "true blue all the way through."

The comments were Stringer's first since Warner announced its decision. He didn't say anything further on the issue, which has been the buzz of many of the news conferences held Sunday by major consumer electronics makers ahead of the show's official opening on Monday.

Earlier Sunday the main backer of HD DVD, Toshiba, said it remained committed to the format and that talk of its demise was premature. "We've been declared dead before," said Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing for digital audio and video products at Toshiba America Consumer Products, at a Toshiba news conference.

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