In late August, Toshiba admitted that talks to unify next-gen DVD formats had ceased. "It is regrettable but unavoidable that two formats will remain (on the market),"
I never had much faith in that unification.
Shortly thereafter, the news spread that Toshiba was pushing back its HD DVD launch into 2006 -- the Japanese firm had planned to introduce the first HD DVD players during the fourth quarter of this year. The delay was all that skeptics needed in order to pronounce HD DVD dead, and it apparently was the perfect ammo for Sony to use against the rival format.
I think these quotes really sum up the whole story quite nicely, but here is the low-down:
Sony and Toshiba are starting one of these classic ‘Beta vs. VHS’ battles over the next generation DVD platform. Sony’s Blu-ray is the Beta, with larger storage capacity, but it happens to be more expensive for manufacturers. Toshiba’s selling point is that companies won’t have to re-tool their factories because HD DVD uses the same type of laser as conventional DVD writers.
I am actually pretty shocked that neither company is trying to release anything for 4th Quarter and the holiday shopping kick. That would really solidify what Steve Jobs said in January about 2005 being “The year of HD”. We already have HDTV broadcasts, new video codecs like H.264, HD PVRs, HD pro-sumer and consumer-level video cameras, not to mention these HDTV sets everyone has been buying for the last umpteen years, waiting patiently to see the pores on Bon Jovi’s face in stunning detail.
As far as I can tell, this year is going to go down as “The year HD almost broke into the mainstream”. The same could be said of Toshiba and HD DVD.
Everyone remembers the beginning of the current video game console cycle, and how many people bought a PlayStation 2 because it doubled as a DVD player, and a few people bought it as a cheap and trusted alternative to the overpriced DVD players for sale at the time. With PlayStation 3 set to release during 2nd Quarter of next year, by the time it’s trendy to get a High-Def DVD player, the PS3 will be on the shelves and the Sony fanboys will be rushing out to get one.
According to a claim by Bejamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment:
Posted from HomeMediaRetailing.com online (September 6, 2005):
“I think in 12 months it’s all going to be clear: the combination of Blu-ray and PlayStation 3 machines is going to overwhelm any HD DVD presence and all studios will have to support Blu-ray,” said Benjamin Feingold, president of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
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