Archive for the 'HD Format War' Category

Confirmed: Toshiba have stopped HD DVD production

Toshiba have now confirmed they are ceasing all HD DVD production.

toshiba.jpg

Reports are starting to come in that Toshiba have announced they are suspending all HD DVD hardware production. Japanese news channel NHK have run the story today that Toshiba will cease hardware production, but are going to continue selling remaining stocks and supporting the players that are already on the market.

If these rumours prove to be true (and it is looking likely), this will be the end of HD DVD. Toshiba account for almost all HD DVD hardware sales and other than the X-Box 360 HD DVD drive, they are the main hardware driving force in the market. With no new hardware in production, it can only be a matter of days or weeks before we see Universal and Paramount making similar announcements.

Posted on 16th February 2008
Under: HD DVD, HD Format War | 1 Comment »

Toshiba ‘No Comment’ on dropping HD DVD rumours

Toshiba UK are refusing to comment on rumours that their support of HD DVD is coming to an end. Recent industry reports and speculation, and rumours that Toshiba are developing a Blu-Ray player have cast significant doubt on the future of HD DVD, and Toshiba’s reluctance to make any statement to refute these rumours is damning. I predict that the coming days and weeks will see some significant changes to the HD playing field - this is happening far more quickly than anyone (including myself) had predicted.

Jodi Sally, vice president of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products says, “Based on its technological advancements, we continue to believe HD DVD is the best format for consumers, given the value and consistent quality inherent in our player offerings”. This is as non-commital as we’ve come to expect from the company and does nothing to quell rumours and continues a trend of an obvious lack of confidence and support that has plagued the format since its inception. This is most obvious from the total lack of good marketing allowing Blu-Ray to surge into the lead despite the advantages HD DVD had to offer the consumer.

I would no longer be surprised if Toshiba, Universal and Paramount all throw their weight behind the dominant format within the next few months…

Posted on 15th February 2008
Under: HD DVD, Blu-Ray, HD Format War | No Comments »

Toshiba Blu-Ray on the way?

Today I heard a rumour that Toshiba may be looking to release their own Blu-Ray players this year. Even more surprising is the suggestion that they have actually been working on two machines for a while, with a September release in mind. Sources are suggesting that this release schedule has been brought forward with a July date now more likely due to the shifts in allegiances in the HD marketplace.

Toshiba, along with Universal, are the two biggest proponents of the HD DVD format. If either one of them shows any sign of switching to the rival Blu-Ray, that will almost certainly be the final nail in the coffin. We’ve heard suggestions that Universal’s exclusivity agreement has come to an end, but that has been flatly denied so far and now rumours of Toshiba moving some eggs out of the HD DVD basket are very interesting indeed.

Even if these are just rumours, they are now out there. With both sides grasping at anything to boost their chosen format’s reputation, any rumour could be enough to prevent take up of either one of the formats. Denials often just give the company involved the chance to make announcements in their own time. HD DVD’s days are numbered, and the quieter the HD DVD camp are, the more speculation there will be that one or more of the big supporters is looking to break away.

The big question isn’t whether Toshiba will release a Blu-Ray player, but when? and what other formats will it support? Could they be looking to boost HD DVDs chances by producing a dual-format player?

Posted on 15th February 2008
Under: HD DVD, Blu-Ray, HD Format War | 1 Comment »

The Format War - A Big Nothing

The press has been awash with stories on the current format war between HD DVD and Blu-Ray. These new formats should be taking us into the next decade with style - HD is the new big thing, from TV channels to gaming and even mobile phones, the HD buzzword is selling hardware like hotcakes, but with HD DVD and Blu-Ray the story is somewhat different. Even the early adopters are being more cautious than usual.

Why is this?

Well - throughout the press all we’re seeing are each ‘camp’ taking pot-shots at each other, scoring cheap points (Blu-Ray outsells HD DVD one week and vice versa, the PS3 is selling poorly, Blockbuster drop HD DVD in most of their US stores) while consumers keep their distance waiting for that day that one or the other capitulates. Unfortunately, by the time that happens, disc-based formats will be old news and neither HD DVD or Blu-Ray will have made it big.

The only chance either format has is if they both survive and feed off each other’s publicity. Dual-format players have to be the way forward - no sensible member of the public is going to buy two expensive pieces of hardware to clutter up their already crowded living rooms. Warner are going to trial their Blu-Ray/HD DVD hybrid discs, but these shouldn’t be needed and offer more drawbacks than benefits - they’ll have no disc art and will be far more fragile. The format war should NEVER happened - it’s all well and good having studios pick their preferred format based on technical needs and costs, but the end user shouldn’t have to do the same.

The move to HD is confusing enough with different resolutions and connectivity standards without that off-putting need to decide which films you don’t want to be able to buy. You see, that’s the problem - consumers are going to realise that whichever format they choose, they won’t be able to buy everything they want, so why should they bother if that old DVD format that everyone owns offer them everything they need.

HD as a whole needs to offer consumers more, not less. HD releases of new films should come out either before or day and date with DVD from the start, they should offer more content to justify all of this hot air about storage capacities and there should be wide-spread promotion as a whole.

The studios should choose whether a particular film should be released on Blu-Ray (if it needs more space) or HD DVD (if it doesn’t), and all customers should need to do is pick up the film they want in their local Asda and come home and play it regardless of which hardware they’ve bought.

All of this confusion is forcing HD DVD and Blu-Ray into a niche and unless there’s an urgent rethink in the next few months, by this time next year we’ll be using our broadband connections to download the latest HD films to our PCs directly from the studio servers. It’s going to be a struggle for either format to become anything more than the new ‘Laserdisc’ and it’ll be impossible if this pathetic ‘war’ continues for much longer.

Posted on 21st June 2007
Under: HD DVD, Blu-Ray, HD Format War | 4 Comments »

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