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The move will likely put an end to a battle that has gone on for several years between consortiums led by Toshiba and Sony vying to set the standard for the next-generation DVD and compatible video equipment.
The format war, often compared to the Betamax-VHS battle in the 1980s, has confused consumers unsure of which DVD or player to buy, slowing the development what is expected to be a multibillion dollar high definition DVD industry.
Toshiba's cause has suffered several setbacks in recent weeks including Friday's announcement by U.S. retailing giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc that it would abandon the HD DVD format and only stock its shelves with Blu-ray movies.
"There have been media reports that Toshiba will discontinue its HD DVD business," a Toshiba spokesman said.
"In fact, Toshiba has not made any announcement or decision. We are currently assessing our business strategies, but nothing has been decided at the moment."
I guess, until there is the definitive statement, it's pure speculation, so I felt we should balance messages.
This leaves Blu-Ray as the presumptive victor in the irrelevant optical disk format war. It now must face up to the real competition: the continuing success of DVD and the growing popularity of downloads, both on the internet and on-demand cable TV.
A couple of people have been making this point since the format war began. It's an irrelevant war - DVD's will hang on as a defacto standard until the whole industry changes to being bits in the pipe.
[edit: add] Well, when the price of the burners comes down to planet earth, they'll make a good data format. 50GB presently, (dual layer), with the possibility of multi layer disks pushing that to 200GB. (source [blu-ray.com])
I recently purchase a sweet 47inch LCD, and stardard DVD was not what I expected. So I picked up an upScaling DVD player for all of $99 bucks and the difference is incredible. So I'll keep buying used DVD's thank you very much.
Besides with all the DRM issues that BlueRay has, forget it, digital media should resemble a book (as in old school paperback), I should be able use without restriction, lend it out, and sell it at the end of my driveway on some future Saturday afternoon. And there is no reason that digital downloads cannot adapt this "fair use" model as well.
I agree that digital downloads will probably be the future, but I still like the idea of having a box with a disk on my shelf, so I'm looking forward to it, if the technology ever gets here. And honestly, we will always need some type of media for storage, anyway.
Just a thought :)
[edited by: sgietz at 6:36 pm (utc) on Feb. 18, 2008]
Besides with all the DRM issues that BlueRay has, forget it, digital media should resemble a book (as in old school paperback), I should be able use without restriction, lend it out, and sell it at the end of my driveway on some future Saturday afternoon.
You realize that your DVD's also have DRM 'issues'?
More pixels on screen means smoother images. Blu-ray is the future. Remember the good old days when people were complaining that CDs were "good enough", then DVD came along and opened a whole new world of storage capabilities? Well Blu-ray is going todo the same.
Yes I do realize this, sorry for not being clear when I say "DRM Issues" I mean causing issues for "honest" customers, such as outlined here:
I see, yes, DRM will cause problems if the format is updated but the player is not. It is not limited to blu ray though.
I did the maths a few months ago, and whilst cost might be an issue, they could start making the rom chips tomorrow (DVD quality) but HD/Blue-Ray quality might take a little longer.
If people don't believe me consider this...
Chip manufacturers are used to creating perfect chips (without any flaws whatsoever). If a broadcast-style format (with error detection/correction) was used to store the data, yields would effectively be 100% with current manufacturing methods, and they could quickly move to higher densities.
Some TVs already include memory card readers to display photos. The attraction of playing movies the same way will be too much to resist. Manufacturers are not geared up to for this right now, and there are no players or contracts with movie studios, but five years from now, or thereabouts, it is surely inevitable. If I were a betting man, my money would be on Toshiba to make the first move.
Toshiba to announce HD DVD pullout on Tuesday: report
TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Toshiba Corp will announce plans to cease production and sales of HD DVD players on Tuesday, the Nikkei business daily said.
Toshiba, the world's No.2 maker of NAND flash memory, will also announce plans to build new NAND factories in a bid to overtake South Korea's Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the paper said.
Now I agree that it is a bit too late. Who wants to be burdened with discs anymore. I'd rather stream the data from my home server.
BBC News - Business [news.bbc.co.uk]
Toshiba drops out of HD DVD war
Toshiba has said it will stop making its high definition DVDs, ending a battle with rival format Blu-ray over which would be the industry standard.
I was watching a Blu-ray disk on a 52" Sony the other night... I believe on an XBR4 LCD... and it was quite amazing, and extremely expensive. Assuming we're not in a massive recession, I think the big shift to Blu-ray and hi-def will happen when all US TVs go digital in just about a year.
I also think the mass market will prefer disks over downloads for some years to come. It's going to take a while for downloads to catch up to the quality of Blu-ray. You've got to see them to understand the quality difference.
Sony hardware being notiously hard to remove the region encoding, we're in for a long wait outside the US to get it to take off.
But the blueray fanboys can gloat for a bit longer.