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Toshiba to back Blu-ray Disc with player launch?

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Toshiba may be about to put the past behind it, look to the future and launch a Blu-ray Disc player.

That's what a report by Japanese-language site Yomiuri claims. The machine will be out - in Japan, presumably - by the end of the year.

Toshiba was the leading proponent of Blu-ray's arch-rival, HD DVD. In February 2008, the company scrapped development following Warner Home Video's decision to focus solely on Blu-ray - up to January 2008, the video distributor had supported both HD optical disc formats.

Toshiba later confirmed it had lost $1bn supporting HD DVD.

Almost immediately, pundits wondered if Toshiba would now release a BD player or studiously ignore the format. So far, it has taken the latter approach, pushing upscaling DVD players instead and not even offering BD drives in its laptops.

Not that there seems to be a huge demand for BD-enabled computers: most PC manufacturers who support the format offer Blu-ray as an optional extra only.

Presumably, Toshiba feels enough water has flowed under the bridge and it can adopt BD, especially if it anticipates that mainstream consumer demand for the HD format - beyond early adopter movie buffs and PlayStation 3 fanboys - is rising as we move into the Christmas sales period.

Or it might still believe - as a fair few commenters to this site do - that DVD is more than adequate for casual video viewing until high-speed broadband makes HD video on-demand a more attractive proposition. ®

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