Eight days after Paramount,Universal and Warner Bros announced their support of the next generation HD DVDin a deal with Toshiba, the Walt Disney Company has joined the Sony camp andthrown its weight behind rival technology Blu-Ray.

Disney said it would becomea board member of the Blu-Ray Disc Association and Buena Vista HomeEntertainment (BVHE) will begin releasing content non-exclusively on the formatwhen Blu-Ray hardware launches in North America and Japan.

"Buena Vista HomeEntertainment is very pleased to support the Blu-Ray format, which will helpset the stage for the next generation of digital video disc," BVHE presidentRobert Chapek said in a statement.

"Blu-Ray's excellentcombination of advanced functionality, picture quality, data capacity, room forfuture growth and advanced rights management for new consumer usage optionswill provide consumers with an outstanding interactive filmed entertainmentexperience."

"One of Disney's key prioritiesis to take advantage of new technologies to drive innovation and growth inorder to create increased value for our shareholders," Disney's seniorexecutive vice president and chief strategic officer Peter E Murphy added.

Twentieth Century Foxremains the only US major that has not said which way it will go. Aspokesperson said the studio had affiliations with both Blu-Ray and the DVDForum, which supports the HD DVD format, and added that no decision had beenmade.