Becomes first studio to back both formats.

Paramount Home Entertainment will be supporting next generation format Blu-ray as well as rival format HD DVD.

Paramount announced its backing of the Toshiba-led HD DVD last November, along with Warner Home Video, New Line Home Entertainment and Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The Sony-led Blu-ray is already supported by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment and Lions Gate Entertainment.

Paramount now becomes the first studio to back away from a commitment to a sole next-generation DVD format.

According to a statement released yesterday (Oct. 2), the company decided to back Blu-ray as well due to the inclusion of the Blu-ray drive in the new PlayStation 3 game console, which is expected in stores next spring.

"We have been intrigued by the broad support of Blu-ray, especially the key advantage of including Blu-ray in PlayStation 3," said Thomas Lesinski, president of worldwide home entertainment for Paramount Pictures, in a statement. "After more detailed assessment and new data on cost, manufacturability and copy protection solutions, we have now made the decision to move ahead with the Blu-ray format."

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray hardware is expected in the first quarter.