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Toshiba Pulls Plug On HD-DVD


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#1 Marc Alucard

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Posted 16 February 2008 - 01:42 PM

From NHK HD-DVD RIP

Toshiba plans to withdraw from HD-DVD production


Toshiba Corporation has decided to withdraw from next generation high-definition DVD production.

Toshiba has been struggling with its version of the next generation DVD format, as support for Blu-ray technology has spread among US retailers.

Toshiba has been in heated competition with other Japanese electronic giants such as Sony, Panasonic and Hitachi, which produce the high-definition DVD format, Blu-ray.

The Blu-ray format now makes up 90 percent of the Japanese high-definition DVD market after winning last year's price war for DVD recorders and players.

Toshiba faced even more difficulty when the major movie studio, Warner Brothers Entertainment, announced that it planned to use only the Blu-ray format for its movie software.

The company said it will continue to sell HD-DVD products for a while but will stop further development of HD DVD. Meanwhile, it said its DVD factories in Aomori Prefecture, northern Japan, would be closed.

Market observers said that Toshiba could suffer a loss of hundreds of millions of US dollars.
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#2 Thomas James

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 10:08 PM

Actually it is a lot more complicated. It seems that Toshiba will still continue to promote HD-DVD as a bargain format that will compete head on with upconvertor DVD players. Toshiba will promote Blu-Ray will as the high end high definition format that will offer the most selection. The HD-DVD format will never die as long as long as the DVD format lives because it will always be able to play standard definition DVD discs. HD-DVD will be the poor mans high definition just like free over the air HDTV is the poor mans high definition. Blu-Ray will not win the format war until Blu-Ray can obsolete DVD.
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#3 Marc Alucard

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Posted 17 February 2008 - 11:27 PM

Actually it is a lot more complicated. It seems that Toshiba will still continue to promote HD-DVD as a bargain format that will compete head on with upconvertor DVD players. Toshiba will promote Blu-Ray will as the high end high definition format that will offer the most selection. The HD-DVD format will never die as long as long as the DVD format lives because it will always be able to play standard definition DVD discs. HD-DVD will be the poor mans high definition just like free over the air HDTV is the poor mans high definition. Blu-Ray will not win the format war until Blu-Ray can obsolete DVD.



I have both HD formats and have no concerns on HD-DVD going away eventually. I think there will be some awesome bargains to be had. I also believe the My HD-DVD player is the best SD DVD player I have owned.

As far as Blu Ray taking signifigant market share from SD DVD, I don't see it happening in the near future. 5% market share of the optical movie biz is optimistic at best.

The Blu Posse better have affordable players and 2500 to 5000 titles ready to go for next Christmas. I have been in the game for about 18 months and I ran out of movies I want to buy.

Instead of two niche HD formats, there will be only one moving forward, I was cheering for the HD-DVD camp but after they lost studio support it was all over.

It bothers me that the more expensive format came out ahead, and now that there is no competition the promos will vanish.

Investors cheer as Toshiba nears HD DVD surrender
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#4 Marcos Sanz

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 12:28 AM

I always wanted BD to win, and now it did in some way. I think that most consumers of High Definition where waiting for this war to be over so they can go and buy their players, they didn't want another Betamax VS VHS war, when people bought their Betamax (My parents still have theirs somewhere in a storage) but then they had to buy a VHS.

So kudos to Toshiba and Sony, now they can focus on consumer service and bring great BD players to the table (If you think BD player are expensive and can afford a PS3 go for it) So Future is here, lets embrace it and enjoy our movies on big screen plasmas, HD projectors or any place you'd like to see them.
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#5 Freya Black

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:25 AM

I always wanted BD to win, and now it did in some way. I think that most consumers of High Definition where waiting for this war to be over so they can go and buy their players, they didn't want another Betamax VS VHS war, when people bought their Betamax (My parents still have theirs somewhere in a storage) but then they had to buy a VHS.


People keep talking about Beta vs VHS.

I'm not sure about that.

I think it's more laserdisc.

They have really made a hash of it all.

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#6 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 02:42 PM

Actually, I also think that the media dramatisation of this supposed format war was overcooked.

There was never any question that BD would become the next-generation optical disc medium. Anyone who thought differently was somewhat dellusional or did not understand the demands even unsophisticated consumers are well able to formulate today.
I also have no doubt that BD will eventually make DVDs obsolete, however, this will take 4 to 5 years and depend heavily on stand-alone devices (components, if you prefer) showing up that allow consumer-grade VHS-style recording capabilities, but - obviously - on a digital-optical medium. Although DVD recorders are selling for a couple hundred sterling in the rubbish corner at Argos, people just did not get convinced by it.

One should also not forget that there is no longer a nimbus and aura of greatness surrounding these media. DVD is a format that turned into a cheap appliance-like commodity within roughly 2 years after mainstream launch, whereas CDs were highly-reverred and treated like pressed discs of gold by their owners for over a decade or more before they became somewhat widespread and affordable... so there is a difference today in how these digital media are regarded and esteemed today. That is why any historic comparisons are no longer valid.

As regards Beta vs VHS: that was something much more fundamental, as these formats were creating both the personal recording market AND the video consumer market, and the stakes for both buying consumers as well as the investing industry were incomparably higher then that today.

Bligh me, were all tech journalists who scribble their nonsense today born after the 1980s?


(personally, I think Apple's digital hub ecosystem is the real "next big thing", with more potential revenue for the industry WHILE securing the drive of humans to collect and amass stuff, as in a film collection ? but only without the physical space that optical media in their nice boxes consume ? something people increasingly start to appreciate. Against that, BD is already on a less victorious positioning.)
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#7 Leo Anthony Vale

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 03:52 PM

I always wanted BD to win, and now it did in some way.


Perhaps Sony paying Fox video to not drop Blu-Ray when they were coplaining about problems with it
& Sony paying Warner Video $50,000,000 to drop HD-DVD.

No wonder Blu-Ray decks cost more.

When the Persians lost the wars with the Greeks, they came up with a new strategy: pay the Greeks to fight each other. It was very a successful strategy.
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#8 Freya Black

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:11 PM

As regards Beta vs VHS: that was something much more fundamental, as these formats were creating both the personal recording market AND the video consumer market, and the stakes for both buying consumers as well as the investing industry were incomparably higher then that today.


EXACTLY! What is more these devices created new needs.

You have a point about digital discs having become worthless shiny discs however.
People really prized their laserdiscs I think, so maybe it is a situation worse than even laserdisc.
We shall see.

I have a question about the discs however. Are the new formats just 5cm discs like DVD? I've not really seen them in real life and I wondered if they put them into magazines/carts in the end like they were thinking of doing?

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#9 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:34 PM

Both BD as well as HD-DVD are just as DVDs or CDs: same size, same optical disc-only.

There was a cartridged version originally, intended for computer usage. The same existed for DVDs then, and I am up to this day not entirely sure what this was actually all about. I think such unclarity was the first wrong step in these marketing campaigns. All those cartridged disc I have never encountered in real life and I don't think they were able to get a hold in the professional data storage market they were targeted at: after all, data centres such as those run by Google or E=MC2 work with reel-to-reel tape!
I really don't understand why they fail to keep things simple and clear! It's so f*ucking easy as a principle, and also easier for everyone who works with it and who buys it. Apple is able to generate an innovative business model based on simplicity every other day, for 30 years, after all.

Thanks for the affirmative posts, Freya. I was just thinking:
Over the past months, I have actually thrown away into the bin countless DVDs that I received as advertising present: those cheesy corporate videos and corny DVD magazine giveaways that you could have downloaded for free from Apple's trailer website without buying the nonsense magazine that came with it in the first place and is most lengthily read my my paper recycling bin (ah, yes, I am like sooo Continental here in London...).
However, I never ever threw away an audio CD in the past. I always did and still do treat my CDs with anal care, and even replaced broken jewel cases.

Something has changed with the ubiquity of those silverlings today, and frankly, my original excitement about Blu-ray as a true home replacement for what I did with VHS, like building a reference movie archive from TV and stuff, has disappeared a bit. Sure, the quality increase is great, but it's not a real advancement in technology. For the home consumer, it's actually a step back from what they could do with VHS, namely record their own stuff at free will. In that respect, a true successor to VHS has still to appear. And I think SSD as pushed by Apple now or holographic platines as common in Japan are much pushing the envelope.

My guess is that BD will succeed DVD, but it will never achieve the market penetration that DVD had, let alone VHS. The plethora of alternatives and all-digital formats, esp. in the raw data file realm, will make that improbable.
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#10 Freya Black

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 04:48 PM

There was originally some talk that blue ray would come in a casing the way that minidisc does because the new wavelength that the laser uses means the data is recorded even closer to the surface of the disc than was the case for DVD, and we all know how fragile DVD is compared to CD's.

I guess they decided to chance it instead.

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#11 Michael Lehnert

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:03 PM

Thanks Freya, that makes indeed sense with regard to the lasering technicalities and the target market, as data storage really is fickle about safe archiving and longevity.

I can tell you that they indeed took their chances. In light of that, I actually wonder about the treatment care one would need to bring towards the BDs when you own one. You are right, DVDs are sensitive beasts, and if BDs are even more mimosa-like, then... well, you would have to wear gloves... :)

What I really dislike is the inferior quality of the discs themselves used for DVDs. Look at the quality of the disc, how it was pressed, printed and packaged as a CD in the 1990s, and look at the rough-edged, airbubbling DVD in those voluminous and increasingly cheap-plasticky boxed DVD.
IN THAT REGARD, even a cheapo DVD from Woolworth is a rip-off when compared to the CD you bough a while back. And BDs I encountered aren't better. And the blue boxed (or red one's for HD-DVD) are visually un-classy. You can't sell as special edition disc set as they are made in Japan for their home market in a blue plastic box. It looks ridiculous!

Opinionated and up-myself as I am, I would actually love to take over the marketing campaign for BD now... B)
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#12 Warwick Hempleman

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:13 PM

My crystal ball says we'll abandon the physical intermediate for home viewing within 2-3 years. It'll all be direct downloads to your PC / Mac / IWhatsit. For most of Europe the bandwidth infrastructure is in place to get to a speed that lets you download a feature in less time than it takes to get the beer and chips ready.

Talking about old formats, good thing I saved my LPs ;)
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#13 Marc Alucard

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:25 PM

Blu Ray discs have a hard coating applied on the data side to protect them from handling damage.

I think the real future of HD on a 12cm disc is up to the CE manufactures and the studios.

The laptop/desktop computer market will also embrace or ignore Blu Ray.

I just hope the fence sitter's at the studios will pump out some films at an accelerated pace now that the "war" is over.

Remember Sony still makes VHS decks, and I bet Toshiba will be in the Blu or combo business.

Blade Runner and the kubrick films made the HD disc experiance worthwhile for me. I only want more.
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#14 Marc Alucard

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Posted 18 February 2008 - 05:34 PM

My crystal ball says we'll abandon the physical intermediate for home viewing within 2-3 years. It'll all be direct downloads to your PC / Mac / IWhatsit. For most of Europe the bandwidth infrastructure is in place to get to a speed that lets you download a feature in less time than it takes to get the beer and chips ready.

Talking about old formats, good thing I saved my LPs ;)



Downloads are the future. But a good portion of the market doesn't have the bandwidth right now. Plus people like to buy something tangible..................Like my vinyl records too.

Remember less than 1 in 4 homes have HD sets and what percentage of them are going to buy HD programming, let alone a HD disc player or down load device.

Downloads take the game out of the retailers hands.

I see a long future for SD DVD and a niche market for HD via disc or download.
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#15 Elliot Smith

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 03:33 AM

I'd like to see a best of both worlds kind of thing. Download your movie to your media player and a physical copy is mailed to you for backup and to fulfill the desire of a physical purchase. Perhaps charge a nominal fee for the backup, but not too much unless there's something really special about it.

I think Apple is very close. If they could cut a deal so that iTV does the job of your cable company's box they'd have it made in the shade. As far as physical discs go, I'm personally over it, though I'd like a backup copy. The ability to download any movie you want without leaving the couch or waiting for it to come in the mail is where it's at. That's the future.
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#16 Thomas James

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 12:59 PM

What gets me is that just when high definition players were at the affordable price of $129 Toshiba pulls the plug and we are left with these outrageously priced $400 Blu-Ray players that no one will buy. I think all these electronic stores did not want a cheap HD-DVD player but would rather sell consumers the bill of goods.
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