Following speculation during the past few days, the Toshiba Corporation today said officially it has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. “This decision has been made following recent major changes in the market,” the company said in a press release. Toshiba will continue to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.
The announcement follows a bitter ‘war of the systems’ with the alternative Blu-ray technology. Most studios seemed to favour the latter and especially the last few months there seemed to be a change towards Blu-ray with both consumers and retailers.
“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 Atsutoshi Nishida, president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation, in a prepared statement. “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.”
Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players to retail channels, aiming for cessation by the end of March 2008. Apart from Toshiba Microsoft is the other main HD-DVD protagonist and it remains to be seen what the company will do. For the moment, they said the decision will have no impact on the XBox 360, the game console that is capable of playing back HD-DVD disks.
Although Blu-ray is now the sole survivor, it is by no means certain that this will be the standard for HD disks in the future. It is our take that consumers are still happy with the quality and low prices of DVDs and DVD players. With the competition now gone, there will be little incentive to lower the prices of Blu-ray players and disks. With HD downloads becoming more prevalent, we believe downloads are the way forwards rather than using physical carriers.