Toshiba officially abandons HD DVD, format war is over

The rumors we heard over the weekend were dead on. This morning, Toshiba put out a press release saying it has "undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD" and has decided to "no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders." The move, which follows decisions by large industry players like Warner, Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Netflix to back Blu-ray exclusively, marks the HD DVD camp's formal concession to the Blu-ray team and the end of the high-definition format war.

In its press release, Toshiba says it will start to reduce shipments of HD DVD players, recorders, and drives for PCs and consoles, with its plan being to stop production completely and close down associated businesses by the end of next month. Nonetheless, Toshiba intends to continue to provide "full product support and after-sales service" for owners of Toshiba HD DVD hardware, and it will "continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand."

Toshiba doesn't plan to let all its work go to waste, though. While Reuters quotes Toshiba's CEO as saying his company "absolutely no plans" to make or sell Blu-ray players, Toshiba says in its press release that it will "study possible collaborations" with HD DVD partners like Microsoft, Intel, and HP utilizing "the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD."

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