updated 08:40 am EST, Fri February 15, 2008
Toshiba Axes HD DVD Soon
Toshiba may be ready to pull the HD DVD format entirely after suffering a series of key defeats, says a claimed source of Hollywood Reporter. A tip reportedly from a person close to the HD DVD faction says Toshiba has not seen the expected surge in player sales from large-scale price discounts instituted for its movie players to compete with Blu-ray -- a decision which may have cost "several hundred dollars" per unit -- and is reportedly reeling from its format being marginalized at retailers such as Best Buy. The losses are such that Toshiba is said by the source to be announcing a complete withdrawal of HD DVD in a "matter of weeks."
Publicly, Toshiba continues to maintain support for HD DVD and has often issued statements touting the "value" of the format, though in recent releases it has shifted attention to its devices as upscaling DVD players rather than high-definition playback.
HD DVD's troubles began when movie studio Warner Bros. said it would drop HD DVD from its releases starting from June, effectively handing a clear majority of HD movie releases to Blu-ray. The decision had an almost immediate impact on HD DVD sales that has largely been sustained since and has led to moves by Best Buy and other retailers to either downplay HD DVD or sell Blu-ray alone. Several smaller, more regional movie studios have since opted for Blu-ray exclusivity as well, including ADV Films and National Geographic.
The succession of losses may also have led to damage at Microsoft, the Reporter adds. Having been Toshiba's closest non-studio supporter, the company and its chief HD DVD evangelist Kevin Collins have reportedly been inaccessible for comment on the alleged HD DVD shutdown. The Windows developer has often been heavily involved in promoting the standard but last week cut its Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on price to $130 to mirror Toshiba's cuts.
Aside from Toshiba, most computer builders have not followed Microsoft's endorsements, either offering Blu-ray drives as options alongside HD DVD equivalents (as with HP) or relying on Blu-ray alone as the sole HD disc reader format, as with Dell and Blu-ray's primary supporter Sony. Apple, Lenovo, and other larger computer builders have largely refrained from committing to any HD disc format with their systems.