Tuesday, February 19, 2008

HD DVD Dead, Long Live Blu-Ray

Following much speculation and several reports, including my own, Toshiba finally made the announcement that they are pulling out of the HD DVD market and will stop shipping players at the end of March.

"We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called 'next-generation format war' and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop," said Atsutoshi Nishida, president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation in a statement. "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."

Now that HD DVD has been dealt its final death blow Blu-ray prices are to fall. A single format should help accelerate the shift to the new technology. It has been speculated that prices will fall slowly over the year, with more major cuts coming later in year towards Christmas time.

Analysts expect more Blu-ray players to be embedded in laptop and desktop personal computers from next year. Companies such as Apple Inc, Dell Inc, Philips and Matsushita Electric Industrial Co, could start investing more aggressively in the technology and get a head-start in terms of launching products. Dell has already showed an influx of desktops that are fitted with Blu-Ray drives, however the prices are still a little too high for many consumers.

The announcement has had an impact on the gaming world as well. Currently Sony is expecting a bigger push and better sales of their PS3. Microsoft however has not commented on any plans for their HD DVD equipped Xbox 360's. So its unclear if there are plans for a Blu-Ray equipped version or not.

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