Feeds

Toshiba tools up for movie download future

Why it never went Blu?

Application security programs and practises

Erstwhile HD DVD heavyweight Toshiba has forecast the end of consumer optical media, and is to develop a series of set-top boxes and portable players all fed with digital content sold on SD card instead.

The scheme follows the Japanese giant's decision to invest $20m in US digital content deliver specialist MOD Systems in addition to the $4m it's already pumped into the company.

MOD focuses on providing retailers with kit to sell songs, videos, TV shows and movies through kiosks fed from its servers. Punters buy the shows they want in store, and the kiosks issue an SD card containing the downloads they've purchased.

MOD's system currently delivers music only, but it wants to extend the service to films and TV programming. It's in talks with content providers, Toshiba said, with a view to rolling out the expanded service in the spring of 2009.

Enter at this point Toshiba with players capable of taking said SD cards and displaying the downloads on the move. It also said it would develop a set-top box capable of showing the cards' contents on HD TVs. Toshiba will also make high-capacity SD cards for the system.

All of which may go some way to explain why, having killed off HD DVD back in February, Toshiba never rushed to join the rival Blu-ray Disc camp. Of course, honour plays a part, but most observers assumed Toshiba would go Blu eventually.

Here's how Toshiba rationalises it all:

"Most video content is today distributed on optical discs. The expansion of broadband infrastructure points to rapid growth in downloads of digital content for consumption in the home. However, high speed downloads of large data sources such as movies require a high-speed connection able to handle high bandwidth.

"A successful business model delivering value to all parties involved demands technology for copyright protection and secure delivery. Direct download in retail environments fully answers these concerns. Downloading video content at high speed to an SD Card will offer consumers a quick and simple means to access video entertainment."

The announcement comes days after SanDisk launched a new brand of Micro SD card that indicates a unit comes pre-loaded with music.

And bear in mind that this download-to-SDHC future is what the THX Chief Scientist Laurie Fincham forecast back in March this year.

There will come a time when home broadband is ready for reasonably rapid movie downloads, at which point Toshiba will be well poised to capitalise upon the trend and cock a snook at all those rivals who placed their bets on optical technology.

Assuming, of course, Toshiba itself is not too late. Apple, for one, is already selling HD movie downloads into the home, albeit in a small way, through its Apple TV set-top box. Online video suppliers like Netflix are planning to do the same - Netflix in particular through an LG set-top box and through the Xbox 360. Sony PlayStation 3 owners can download movies too.

Obituary HD DVD 2002-2008

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Airbus promises Wi-Fi – yay – and 3D movies (meh) in new A330
If the person in front reclines their seat, this could get interesting
UK Parliament rubber-stamps EMERGENCY data grab 'n' keep bill
Just 49 MPs oppose Drip's rushed timetable
Want to beat Verizon's slow Netflix? Get a VPN
Exec finds stream speed climbs when smuggled out
Samsung threatens to cut ties with supplier over child labour allegations
Vows to uphold 'zero tolerance' policy on underage workers
Dude, you're getting a Dell – with BITCOIN: IT giant slurps cryptocash
1. Buy PC with Bitcoin. 2. Mine more coins. 3. Goto step 1
prev story

Whitepapers

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.