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DVD is Dead…

Hello Gentle Reader…You may have heard that, last Tuesday, Toshiba announced it bowed to its lameness, er, to market pressure and discontinued support for the HD DVD format. Just now, as I write this on Thursday, the Toshiba America web site still has the title “Laptops, HDTVs, HD DVD Players, Medical Imaging & More…” Looks like not all the HD DVD marketing wonks are ready to commit ritual seppuku just yet or, they already have and there’s nobody left to man the station. :: Citing “…recent major changes in the market,” Toshiba Worldwide quotes Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO as saying, “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.” Can you say, “PS3?” Nishida continues, “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.” Does that mean they’ll — gulp — support Blu-ray? I think so, despite the corporate enmity between Toshiba and Sony. They may not come right out and start waving the Blu-ray flag but they certainly will, at the least, be behind the scenes providing OEM bits and pieces to Blu-ray manufacturers. :: One of the HD DVD’s supporters, and one of my fave CE manufacturers, is Onkyo Corporation, who announced today that they have “…decided (to) discontinue the development and production of HD DVD players.” Onkyo mentions that they “…distributed and sold approximately 2000 units,” which gives us some indication of the market penetration of this format, about one million total or one tenth the number for Blu-ray. In the same announcement, Onkyo tellingly states that, “While Onkyo has been an enthusiastic supporter of the HD DVD format, it was not an exclusive relationship. Onkyo’s research and development teams have maintained a parallel development program for the competing Blu-ray technology.” No surprise there since Sony and Onkyo are very close and CE manufacturers like to hedge their bets. :: Not surprisingly, retailers have announced “fire sales,”as InformationWeek puts it, and don’t expect any refunds for the deep pockets early adopters. I always considered HD DVD to be an interim format, a tarted up version of DVD that didn’t provide a true high def experience. Now, Blu-ray can begin the slow ascendancy to Distribution Flavor of the Week. With DVD sales flat and the worldwide economy in the dumper, the timing is right for ending another format war. I predict that Blu-ray will take six or more years to become widely accepted as HD TV is just now starting to impinge on the average consumer’s conscious. :: All for now, have a pleasant remainder of your day! :: Postscript…On March 8th, Samsung announced the intro of BD-P1500 Blu-ray player, due in June. Samsung and LG were the only CE manufacturers that produced dual format players.

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2 Responses to “DVD is Dead…”

  1. This just in…Toshiba Corp., which offered the lame HD DVD format, plans to enter the Blu-ray market, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun. Toshiba will introduce play-only models that read Blu-ray Discs and DVDs by the end of the year.

    For more info:

  2. This just in…Yesterday, Toshiba Corp., which engendered the lame HD DVD format, plans to enter the Blu-ray market, according to The Yomiuri Shimbun. Toshiba will introduce play-only models that read Blu-ray Discs and DVDs by the end of the year.

    For more info:
    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/business/20090720TDY01302.htm