Mole claims Toshiba to terminate HD DVD
Demise could be 'a matter of weeks' away
Is Toshiba about to fall on its sword and announce the demise of HD DVD? That's certainly what one report citing an unnamed mole within the HD DVD camp is claiming, even though Toshiba itself is having none of it.
The source mentioned by US Home Media Magazine claims that Toshiba could declare HD DVD dead in "a matter of weeks".
The mag also spoke to a senior Toshiba staffer - Jodi Sally, VP of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products - who re-iterated the company's belief that HD DVD "is the best format for consumers".
However, she did admit that Toshiba is monitoring the market. "Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players."
Reading between the lines, that could imply that Toshiba has envisaged the possibility that its favoured format will cease to offer value to buyers, almost certainly because of overwhelming momentum behind the rival format, Blu-ray Disc.
Certainly, Toshiba has been slashing the prices it charges for HD DVD players over the past three or four months in a bid to make the format more attractive that Blu-ray. But because the Sony PlayStation 3 has a built in Blu-ray drive, that format's been able to outstrip its rival's figures in terms of both disc sales and shipments of devices capable of playing them.
HD DVD may well have a higher 'quality' audience - in other words, punters who're buying it because they want a hi-def disc format, as opposed to happening to get it for free with a games console - but that hasn't delivered the numbers. That's the main reason why Warner decided to stop supporting both formats and go Blu-ray only from this coming May.
That's the killer, as it limits HD DVD to movies from Universal and Paramount who together account for roughly a quarter of the home video market in the US. Not being able to buy of the remaining 75 per cent of releases makes HD DVD a tough choice for consumers, and that's been seen in stuttering disc sales since Warner's early January announcement.
Recently, Toshiba began pitching its HD DVD players to DVD owners looking not for hi-def media but a good way to upscale their standard-definition discs for HD TV display. That was seen as something of a last ditch measure, but it's not hard to imagine Toshiba figuring that if it can increase hardware sales then it can counterbalance the pull of the studios.
But as is always the case with this kind of products, content is king. Very few mainstream buyers - there aren't enough 'early adopters' out there to make a difference - will buy hardware without content to play on it. Three-quarters of the home video market isn't going to suddenly shift to the same format as the remaining 25 per cent, but that quarter might well go the other way.
Indeed, it was claimed earlier this year that Paramount's arrangement with the HD DVD camp - which only runs for two years, in any case - could be revoked if Warner went exclusively Blu-ray. Which it did.
As we reported earlier today, here in Europe there are some 3.2m PS3s and 34,000 standalone Blu-ray players in consumers' homes, compared to around 55,000 HD DVD players and Xbox 360 add-on drives. Some 2.4m discs have been bought over here, and the format's outselling its rival 3:1. Sales of standalone BD players have grown by a far greater degrees than sales of HD DVD machines, despite a massive price advantage in HD DVD's favour.
Short of giving players away for free, it's hard to see what Toshiba can do right now to reverse that trend, and even then there's still the problem that so much content will only appear on the other format.
That's why last month UK retailer Woolworths signalled a shift to Blu-ray, and this week both Netflix and Best Buy did the same in the States.
Whether Toshiba's about to throw in the towel or not, the opposing forces are closing in on the bunker...
TV from ISP...
This is handled differently by most ISPs, it is NOT part of the users 'internet' , so will not be affected by any *imposed* restrictions! ( and I'll bet it will be a locked, nonstandard format anyway...)
The TV that is available through various other methods (winamp, web, etc..) of course will use the standard ISP account, and costing etc...
@Duncan: Most people do not have the money to get a *television* that will do 1920x1200 - rather wasteful, as HD only does 1920× 1080 ... but hey, its your money...
You may be happy with gaming on a 24" screen, but most want to watch movies on a good size screen! - It is up to the buyer to make sure they get their money's worth, and make sure they are not ripped off by false promises! this is why most say dont use a small screen for HD...
Of course, 'your mileage may very' -depending on the quality of a lot of other things!
Not true that 1080p is only worth it on 50" or bigger, this is such a myth. Im a PC gamer too and the improvement in quality at 1920x1200 on just a 24" LCD is clearly discernible- its hard not be seeing as its nearly 2.5 times the resolution of 720p. Its pretty hard NOT to notice a 200%+ improvement in resolution!
The thing is the improvement over 576p of 720p is so much of a leap (remember we must consider the horizontal resolution increase not just the vertical) that for many 720p will be amazing enough as it is 2.2 times the resolution of 576p- again hard to not see a 200% improvement.
But for me the difference between 720p and 1080p (even 1080i and 1080p) is clear even on our 1080p 37" in the bedroom- I wouldnt have spent the extra if it wasnt.
Why physical media will never die
People just like having something they can hold, or something physical to own when they hand over their cash.
Then there is the bandwidth considerations- as typical HD movies with lossless audio start at around 20GB.
Companies like Virgin have problems delivering constant 20Mb connections without traffic management let alone the kind of connection required to allow reliable streaming or reasonable download times of HD movies.
I also believe the ISPs will traffic manage these huge downloads as they do P2P content- as why should they supply the infrastructure for other companies to distribute HD movies but get nothing in return?
Then there is the storage consideration- ok hard drives are "cheap" but "affordable" media boxes with say a 1TB drive in will only hold 20 Blu Ray (BD-50) discs if you include extras, or approx 40 movies on their own.
When you think that many DVD owners will own many more than 40 titles you start to see the picture.
IMO most will use their existing movie providers (Sky/Virgin) as Sky provide HD movies, some on demand too- this will only increase over time. And on top of that the "buy to own" market will still revolve around physical media.
There is room for both.
A shame HD-DVD lost btw- although we recently "chose" Blu-ray. Sorry did I say choose? Of course we didnt we had to because the studios made the choice for us, so please stop saying the consumers had a choice.
If MS had bundled the 360 with a HD-DVD the story may have been different, as no doubt the PS3 was a huge part in this victory, and even though Im certainly no Sony fan Im absolutely delighted with our BD player- it genuinely surprised me how much of a leap it was over DVD as even though I knew the numbers I wasnt prepared for how good 1080p really is. Plus the upscaling of DVDs is superb, and its probably good enough that I wont need to double dip for too many of our existing DVDs.
Format wars? When will the industry learn?
VHS v Betamax. A long drawn-out painful battle, only one could survive.
DCC v Minidisc. A somewhat less drawn out battle. Early DCC decks sounded better but MD was the better format in the long run. I bought MD about 10 years ago. The format's pretty much been made obsolete by the likes of the iPod now though.
DVD-R v DVD+R. The one that never was. All drives can read or write both formats now.
Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD. Pointless. Will they ever learn?
Someone mentioned above the difference between 720p and 480i. Maybe that's why HD has caught on in NTSC territories, but in Europe we have 576i rather than 480i. And plasma screens that will do 576p.
And the difference between 576p and 720p is... not that great. You probably wouldn't notice it on a screen smaller than about 42" anyway. And 1080p is only worth having on a really huge screen (bigger than 50").
No? Really? Some of the components in the PS3 might not be Sony? You mean they might even be Toshiba? Holy sh!t! Stop the presses everyone. Oh, wait, something is ringing a bell....Cell, cEll BE, developed by STI...Sony...Toshiba...IBM. Yes, that's it, CEll was a co-development of Sony and Toshiba.
Some people here really need to open their eyes and read some more. Ian, it's been known by anyone who pays even a moderate amount of attention that Toshiba were co-developers of the Cell with Sony and IBM. Where have you been not to know that? Of course some of the semi-conductors in the PS3 are Toshiba manufactured. perhaps you missed the enws a while back that Sony sold their semi-conductor business to Toshiba, well more like they joined up with Toshiba to become the silent partner in the continuing manufacture of those component lines with Toshiba taking the operational control.
Despite their adversarial status with the HD-DVD and Blu-Ray formats, Toshiba and Sony spend a lot of time working together. It's a different mind set to the confrontational, adversarial ways of the western world and the capitalist system.
A single format will be good for everyone. Had HD-DVD 'won' Sony would have been very happy producing HD-DVD players as well as Blu-ray equipped PS3s. As it is, Sony is truly a winner here because Blu-Ray and PS3 are complementary products, and both are successful in the market. Toshiba will certainly have no trouble making blu-ray players, in fact one wonders how long they will take to tear apart any players currently stockpiled at the factory and re-purpose them as a Blu-Ray player.