Toshiba Gives Up On HD DVD, Ends High-Def Format War - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Hardware & Infrastructure

Toshiba Gives Up On HD DVD, Ends High-Def Format War

Toshiba plans to stop shipping HD DVD players and recorders by the end of March, and end production of disk drives for PCs and videogames in the same timeframe.

Toshiba on Tuesday surrendered in the high-definition format war against Sony-backed Blu-ray, saying it would no longer make or market HD DVD players and recorders.

The announcement came four days after Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, said it would stop selling HD DVD movies and players by June. But the turning point in the format battle came last month when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, which accounts for 20% of DVD sales in the U.S., said it would ship all of its high-definition titles in Blu-ray by year's end. Consumer electronics retailer Best Buy and online movie renter Netflix followed suit this month.

Toshiba said that it would continue to provide full product support and after-sales service to customers of Toshiba HD DVD products. The company had sold 1 million players and recorders worldwide, including sales for drives for Microsoft's Xbox 360.

In reassessing its support for HD DVD, Toshiba said it came to the conclusion that the market for high-definition movies and hardware would be better served by having one format. "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," Atsutoshi Nishida, president and chief executive of Toshiba, said in a statement.

Toshiba had pushed hard for HD DVD adoption as part of a strategy to become a bigger player in the consumer electronics market. The Japanese company is the world's second largest NAND flash memory maker, and is also a big supplier of nuclear power turbines, elevators, and washing machines.

In the last business year, Toshiba's Regza TVs, Dynabook notebooks, and Gigabeat audio player and other digital products for consumers comprised 40% of the sales of the company's electronics group, but only earned 6% of Toshiba's profits, according to Reuters news agency.

Toshiba planned to stop shipping HD DVD players and recorders to retailers by the end of March, and end production of disk drives for PCs and videogames in the same timeframe. The company did not say whether it would switch over to making Blu-ray products. The plans would have no impact on Toshiba's standard DVD business, the company said.

Toshiba intended to continue working on other products with its HD DVD partners, including Hollywood studios Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Animation. On the technology side, the company planned to continue working with Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard.

By dropping HD DVD, Toshiba during the current business year would likely save $450 million in sales and promotion and in restructuring its HD DVD business, analysts told Reuters. The company was expected to lose $93 million in unloading excess inventory and scrapping assembly lines.

Those companies that dropped support for the Toshiba-backed format said it was necessary to eliminate customer confusion over having to choose between two competing and incompatible technologies. Most consumers have shunned high-definition DVDs and players to avoid being on the losing end of the format war, which was reminiscent of the battle between Betamax and VHS in the early days of videocassette recorders. VHS eventually won over Sony-backed Betamax.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
News
How COVID is Changing Technology Futures
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  7/23/2020
Slideshows
10 Ways AI Is Transforming Enterprise Software
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  7/13/2020
Commentary
IT Career Paths You May Not Have Considered
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  6/30/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
Special Report: Why Performance Testing is Crucial Today
This special report will help enterprises determine what they should expect from performance testing solutions and how to put them to work most efficiently. Get it today!
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll