Format war over, Toshiba quits HD DVD

By Matthew Henry

TOKYO: Sony’s Blu-ray Disc has won the war to become the successor to the ageing DVD format with Toshiba announcing that it will scrap HD DVD.

Toshiba Corporation, which was the major backer of HD DVD in the consumer electronics sector, said in a statement overnight it will no longer develop, manufacture or market the HD DVD format, handing victory to Sony’s Blu-ray Disc.

Toshiba president and CEO, Atsutoshi Nishida, acknowledged that major shifts in the market had made HD DVD’s position difficult despite its cheaper price in the market.

“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” said Nishida.

"While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”

The company will reduce shipments of HD DVD players into the retail channel and expects to end supply by the end of next month. After sales service and warranty support will continue to be offered.

Toshiba said it will continue to support DVD but has not announced whether it will support Blu-ray, which would seem inevitable.

Toshiba’s exit from the format war was anticipated due to a number of significant blows this year, including the loss of support from Warner Bros Home Video and major US retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buys.

Both Blu-ray and HD DVD were vying to replace DVD as the industry standard disc format for the high definition era.

Blu-ray’s major competitor is now DVD, which continues to demand strong loyalty from consumers despite the emergence of HD televisions.

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