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.”

Comments closed
    • JustAnEngineer
    • 12 years ago
    • leor
    • 12 years ago

    and absinthe is legal!

    • blitzy
    • 12 years ago

    haha take that sony haters

    • kkloster
    • 12 years ago

    don’t you guys read the emails to report@techreport.com ?

    • PRIME1
    • 12 years ago

    Castro and HD-DVD step down both on the same day………

    • ssidbroadcast
    • 12 years ago

    Take that, Paramount and Universal!

    Man, I can’t wait to buy The Office Season 4 on Blu Ray and have ALL the episodes from that season be on ONE disc.

    They better be on one disc!!

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      Well, that depends if they release in SD or HD format. 😉

      One dual-layer BRD could hold of those episodes in SD format. Cannot say the same if they are in HD format.

        • ssidbroadcast
        • 12 years ago

        Yeah I know. If I had to choose, I’d gladly take “SD” format (that is, standard DVD compression… which is still quite good) over HD format if it meant being able to have them all a single disc. I’m sick and tired of having to change discs if I want to watch the next episode or if I guess the wrong disc. And god forbid you want to rent a season at blockbuster. You might as well buy the whole thing.

    • 5150
    • 12 years ago

    Now if only they could do something about that whole Iraq war thingy.

      • eitje
      • 12 years ago

      one side just has to give up!

    • axeman
    • 12 years ago

    §[<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economies_of_scale<]§ Read that. Besides, there is more than one company building players, I mean by your logic, DVD players should be expensive. edit: meant to be a reply to #5

    • provoko
    • 12 years ago

    I just want to take this moment to say: *[

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      HD VOID is definitely the future for the mainstream market. It is the missing killer app for high-tier mainstream broadband services that are sorely lacking in majority of the USA.

      There are still customers that prefer hard copies and/or are unable to obtain higher-tier broadband services for whatever reasons. BR will still cater to their market.

      You are dreaming big to think that solid state will replace HDDs and optical media. Solid state does not stand a chance on GB/$$$$ ratio, portability and performance/$$$$$ ratio. Contrary to your belief, solid state is not immune to becoming a paperweight. Its death is just a more graceful then HDDs. A BRD technically will outlast a solid state drive if properly cared for.

        • Vrock
        • 12 years ago

        It’s HD VOD, not HD VOID. VOID=the space between your ears, VOD is Video On Demand.

        • provoko
        • 12 years ago

        I never said anything about HDDs, I was speaking of USB flash drives and their kin.

        USB flash drives fit into my tiny little pocket and can act like a bootable optical drive. So I don’t see any reason to take a chance on burning a coaster or waste a one-time-burn-disc when I can easily use a usb flash drive. Especially since it’s faster at copying/reading and reusable than discs.

        In terms of reliability, i’ve never had to replace a usb flash drive, camera card, or ipod due to failure.

    • tray56
    • 12 years ago

    I had predicted this a very long time ago in another forum.

    Blu-ray won the battle simply because the PS3 decided to bundle the blu-ray and made it mandatory.

    If the 360 had done the same thing with HD-DVD, there would be an abundant amount of HD-DVD players out there and the outcome might have been the other way around.

    I would say that about %5 percent of 360 owners also bought the HD-DVD add-on and that’s being generous. I know of 8 people who owns a 360 and none of them bought the HD-DVD add-on.

    Although if Microsoft would have bundled it with their consoles, the price would have been more steep and their sales would not have been as high as it stands now.

      • Mithent
      • 12 years ago

      Also, Microsoft don’t have much invested in HD-DVD compared to what Sony had invested in Blu-ray; Sony were willing to accept delays and potentially lower sales of the PS3 if it kicked off Blu-ray, but Microsoft didn’t have any good reason to cripple Xbox 360 sales – they were more interested in carving out a stake of the gaming market than winning the format war. Sure, the supported HD-DVD because they used their technology, but they weren’t going to let it change other strategies.

        • tray56
        • 12 years ago

        I concur.

        Also, Microsoft failed to realize that some people might just buy the PS3 because of its Blu-ray capabilities at a low cost price compared to stand-alone BR players. Heck, the PS2 was my first DVD player, so for many, the PS3 will be their first BR player.

        Sony took a big risk, and won big time.

        This coupled with the 360’s awful failure rate, the PS3 will dominate by the end of 2008 and for several years after that until the next generation of consoles me thinks.

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Too early to say.

          Both MS and Sony took big risks.

          MS went first and hoped that developers would stick with 360 and kill chances for PS3 to get exclusive content. That gamble seems to working given that 360 has the strongest software sales and greatest variety of content out of the contenders. Despite, some significant QC issues. (PS2 was very imfamous for it in the last generation)

          Sony’s gamble was hoping that BR would won the format wars and use PS3 as its biggest weapon. That gamble work well for winning the format war. It is a lot less clear on the software area, PS3 does not exactly have the most appealing selection and not many “AAA” exclusive titles on the horizon.

    • Cuhulin
    • 12 years ago

    #6,

    No. The format that was best for consumers lost. HD-DVD was less expensive to manufacture, both for the machines and the disks, more compatible with existing DVD formats (hence, the combo disks that were common from several studios), and less restrictive in DRM and regional encoding. It also had all of its features on day 1.

    Blu-Ray may become a decent format, if they ever finish it, and if the prices ever come down.

    For the time being, though, the consumer is the loser in this one, unless you’re a PS3 fan, in which case having the HD-DVD studios come to you with Blu-Ray movies is a plus.

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      I do not see it that way.

      It is the manufacturers and early adopters who are the big losers. They have to pay most of the burden for the infrastructure costs and royalty fees (for non-BR Association manufactures).

      Customers only lose in a sense that BR may be a little more expensive per disc and player to cover royalty fees then DVDs are right now.

      DRM argument is lame. Because both HD-DVD and BR had some form of it to prevent casual piracy. HD-DVD was favored more among causal pirates because it was the first to be cracked.

        • WildBenchv2
        • 12 years ago

        The DRM argument is not lame. It’s true that HD-DVD was favored for piracy, I think that was the main reason the movie studios went for blu-ray, but at the same time the extra DRM adds lots of weight/bloat that a lot of us don’t need.
        In the end #9 is right, HD-DVD was the more consumer friendly format, but these days it is the movie studios and their bank books that have the power.

        • VILLAIN_xx
        • 12 years ago

        I don’t know how much cheaper costs of HD DVD are compared to BR but If it was so much less to produce CD and player wise, they should have priced it more aggressively. I avidly watch the prices between the two formats, and i never once saw a consistent sale of it being “dirt cheaper” than blu ray and vice versa.

        One way to Win the consumers hearts, is through their wallet. But, in the end it boiled down to which corporation(s) was supporting it the most. I dunno how many times i’ve said on forums that BestBuy and Walmart seem to show case it better. Look what happened, the corporations decided which format to drop since the format war was stupid to begin with.

        And the real losers we’re the ones who forgot about Beta vs VHS.. had they learned nothing?

        • Cuhulin
        • 12 years ago

        The early adopters, on both the manufacturer and consumer sides, really don’t matter here — that is water over the dam.

        I say the consumer lost because the technology of Blu-ray is inherently more expensive to manufacture, and because the problem of incompatibility in disc formats (i.e., no combos to use in cars, portables, second and third systems, and the like) is a real drain on the consumer’s finances.

        I don’t like the DRM because it makes it easier for the studios to keep the prices high — like they have with CD’s after years of promising that they would get less expensive. This is even more the case with region encoding, particularly if one is not in the US. This is essentially a zero-sum game in which the studios or the consumers win or lose by granting higher prices to the studios, and Blu-ray hands this to the studios.

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Wrong, production BR players and drives can work with normal CDs and DVDs without an issue. It is because they also have a red LED-laser for legacy support.

          HD-DVD also used a blue-LED laser (HD-DVD media) and red-LED laser (legacy optical media).

          Keep dreaming to think that HD-DVD was really any more consumer-friendly. It may have been in theory, but I doubt it would have been in practice. BR also supports legit back-ups called “managed copies”.

          DRM of some shape or form is a necessary evil. There always will be people that will steal content without paying the artist a dime. It destroys any economic incentive for artist to create stuff. On the end it cannot be so extreme that it alienates legit customers and destroys economic incentive for holders and artists. “One hit, I am set for life” type of deal.

          The real question is how to balance DRM enough that it will protect content holders, while not completely alienating customer rights. MPAA and RIAA are starting to see the light.

            • adisor19
            • 12 years ago

            I don’t agree with you. Just for the fact that HD-DVD had no region coding, it was by a long shot more consumer friendly.

            Just because its encryption was easily defeated and allowed anyone to copy the full HD movie to a SAN, makes it THE format that a consumer should choose. Alas, this is all in vain now 🙁

            Adi

      • m32001
      • 12 years ago

      The consumer disagrees (about being the loser) as we are the ones who brought HD-DVD to its knees and Bluray to the win.

        • Mithent
        • 12 years ago

        I’m not sure if the consumer ever really made a decision.. the PS3 won it purely because the people who wanted PS3s to play games also got a Blu-ray player and so tried out Blu-ray discs. Standalone players of either type never sold well.

        • Cuhulin
        • 12 years ago

        Actually, consumers really didn’t do this.

        Drop out the PS3, and HD-DVD was the winner on hardware — though one could note that a lot of this was a buy-down of pricing in Toshiba’s late-year sales.

        Disc sales favored Blu-ray, but only because of the buy one-get one free programs that the Blu-ray marketing association paid for.

        This really was not a consumer thing (and just to be clear, I own one of each).

          • JustAnEngineer
          • 12 years ago

          q[

    • Vrock
    • 12 years ago

    Universal has already announced its intentions to go Blu:

    §[<http://www.highdefdigest.com/news/show/Universal/Breaking:_Universal__Studios_Goes_Blu/1483<]§

      • VILLAIN_xx
      • 12 years ago

      they better! lol

      • nookie
      • 12 years ago

      do they have a choice? lol

    • adisor19
    • 12 years ago

    I have to say this again : HD-DVD, you will always have a place in this old pirate’s heart. Yaaaaaar !

    Your simple excuse of DRM that was defeated in a day was your best asset. You will be missed.

    Once again, the consumer’s rights are completely ignored and the format with the most DRM wins.

    Adi

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      Hate to break it to you, but HD-DVD was not exactly DRM-free by any means. Its measures are primarily to combat casual piracy. The difference is that HD-DVD’s scheme was cracked eariler. It ultimately hurt it more then it help it.

        • adisor19
        • 12 years ago

        At least it had only 1(ONE) layer of DRM unlike BR which has 2. As a consumer, i’ll take less DRM than more DRM any day.

        Adi

        • Forge
        • 12 years ago

        Not DRM free, but far, far, far less restrictive. HD’s DRM was much weaker and more quickly broken, and it also lacked any form of region lock. All HD-DVDs and all HD players work together, meaning that regions getting releases at different times or not at all was on the way out. Blurray has region coding just like DVD did, so no more importing series that aren’t released in the US.

        Just for an example, Dr. Who 2005 was released on DVD in the UK almost a full year earlier than here in the US. I have my R2 imports, but having to work around the region difference is very irritating. Likewise for films like The Host, which was out on DVD at retail in Korea a year and change before it hit US theaters.

        Meh @ region coding. Meh @ Blurray.

          • Krogoth
          • 12 years ago

          Region coding is pretty retarded. It should have died with DVD. Its aim was to prevent importing content outside of its native market for whatever strange reason.

          I don’t get it though. It is often more expensive to import something a year or so before its local release. Only die-hard fans (tiny minority) of the said content would go through such lengths. Customs fees and processing time defeats the economical purpose of piracy to international markets via legit channels.

          It does not do a thing to underground illicit piracy trade. They will find ways around the regional protection.

      • flip-mode
      • 12 years ago

      Why does a pirate care about consumer’s rights?

        • adisor19
        • 12 years ago

        Because as a consumer, DRM is driving me to pirate certain things. Or at least act like one in the eyes of the RIAA. Apparently copying a DVD onto my SAN makes me a pirate. :s Go figure.

        Adi

        • albundy
        • 12 years ago

        remember that statement when companies drm the hell out of the normal stuff you buy.

          • flip-mode
          • 12 years ago

          Well I’m a consumer – it makes sense for me to be miffed. I’m just wondering why a pirate should care.

    • herothezero
    • 12 years ago

    Did the format that was really better for consumer flexibility really win, though?

      • Lord.Blue
      • 12 years ago

      No. HD-DVD was less restrictive and had no regional lockouts, unlike Blu.

    • axeman
    • 12 years ago

    w00t!

    Now the player prices can start falling 😀

      • provoko
      • 12 years ago

      Uh yea, wiki competition. Haha. True there will be more manufactures of Blu-ray players, but competing technologies always brings down prices faster

        • Master Kenobi
        • 12 years ago

        It’s wishful thinking to believe prices will drop anytime in the near future. Remember the hardware and movie companies are counting on High-Def as a high margin revenue generator.

    • Krogoth
    • 12 years ago

    Thank god it is over.

    The whole war was BS to begin with.

    • UberGerbil
    • 12 years ago

    Stick a fork in it. “She’s dead, Jim”

      • Krogoth
      • 12 years ago

      HD-DVD was a faceless redshirt that got struck down by “BR” Khan.

      (Sorry, I am such a Treke :P)

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