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Fox Commits To Blu-ray Releases

Beverly Hills, Calif. — Twentieth Century Fox formally announced it will release content on the high-definition Blu-ray Disc format through its subsidiary Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

Fox, which has been a vocal proponent for a renewable copy protection system in the next generation disc format, has been a member of the Blu-ray Disc Association Board of Directors since October 2004, and remains a member of the DVD Forum. But the studio opted to hold back announcing a release commitment to either format until now.

The announcement gives the Blu-ray Disc camp a bigger edge in Hollywood Studio support just months before rival format HD DVD is playing to launch players based on its format in the United States.

In addition to Fox, Sony Pictures and Disney have also endorsed Blu-ray Disc. HD DVD, meanwhile, has the backing of Warner Bros., Paramount and NBC/Univeral.

Fox did not indicate which titles or how many it would release at the time of the Blu-ray launch in North America, Japan and Europe, which is now slated for sometime in 2006. However, Fox did say its Blu-ray releases would include new and library movie releases in addition to select TV titles.

In its announcement, Fox pointed out that its film library includes such titles as Alien, All About Eve, Die-Hard, Gentleman’s Agreement, I, Robot, Laura, Moulin Rouge, and X-Men. TV titles include 24, Family Guy, In Living Color, Lost In Space, Mary Tyler Moore, Mash, The Simpsons, and X-Files.

Fox said its commitment to emerging technologies “is dedicated to enhancing the consumer experience of its products and providing for backward compatibility with their existing home entertainment libraries while also aggressively protecting its intellectual property from piracy.”

Fox said its commitment to publish on Blu-ray is “a direct result of the [Blu-ray Disc] organization’s recent adoption of copyright protection measures, including renewable security that addresses the needs and concerns of the studio and the entire Hollywood community.”

“Blu-ray is a superior high definition technology that is a full step forward in the evolution of consumer packaged media,” said Mike Dunn, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment Worldwide president. “For consumers, the release of our films on Blu-ray will provide in-home entertainment beyond anything they have imagined. On the business side, the advanced functionality, picture quality and data capacity at a competitive manufacturing cost along with ‘room for growth’ as new consumer usage options are developed, fully realizes the promise of a next generation format and represents the future of home entertainment.”

In response the HD DVD Promotion Group called Fox’s statement “misleading in terms of which format provides for more robust copy protection.”

“The content protection system of HD DVD provides an equivalent level of security as the system advocated by Fox for Blu-ray,” the HD DVD groups said in prepared statement. “We also believe the Blu-ray disc format and proposed copy protection system may result in playability and reliability issues for the consumer.

“HD DVD provides robust, renewable and standardized content protection coupled with proven reliability, cost effectiveness and flexibility which is why many major film studios have announced support for the HD DVD format.”