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Monday, 18 February 2008 05:47

Toshiba to throw in HD DVD towel

Written by David Stellmack
ImageImage

Formal announcement coming soon

At this point it was starting to be expected, so it will come as no surprise to most that rumors are starting to leak from Toshiba that they will make a formal announcement soon that they are ending HD DVD. While sources are not specific on what this announcement will be specifically, it is thought that they will discontinue HD DVD completely in all markets; or perhaps they will start by pulling the plug in North America and Japan first, while they concentrate on sales in Europe in order to close out equipment and titles. It has been rumored that they still may continue to offer the HD DVD players, but stop manufacturing recorders.

According to various rumors and reports, Toshiba is already in the final phases of planning their exit and a formal announcement could come as early as next week. It is unknown if Toshiba plans to produce its own Blu-ray player or a possible combo player as part of their exit strategy.

As for the studios, Paramount will be able to shift gears and ramp up into Blu-ray quickly again, as they have experience already in producing Blu-ray titles. As a clue to the fact that Paramount is already heading in this direction, it would seem that multiple sources at the retail level are saying that new Paramount Blu-ray titles are appearing in their inventory systems as either “on order” or “available for pre-order.” According to our sources, the HD DVD blockbuster exclusive Transformers is one of the titles that is appearing as “available for pre-order.”

As for Universal, not much is really known about what their future plans might be. We can tell you that they did cancel two upcoming HD DVD titles and they have not been very forthcoming about new HD DVD titles beyond American Gangster, which will release Tuesday. It has been thought that Universal will have a bit more of a ramp up period getting their titles over to Blu-ray, but it should not be that difficult for them to make it happen.

In the meantime, a few new titles are still on the horizon for HD DVD, but we suspect that by the start of the summer that we will no longer be seeing any additional HD DVD titles. With the recent announcements we do suspect that buying HD DVD titles at the retail level will continue to become increasingly difficult, especially for some of the bigger upcoming titles. We have to suggest that if you want any of the upcoming HD DVD releases, you might want to get your pre-order in with one of the large online retailers. Also, we have to wonder what kind of discounts you will see on HD DVD titles at the retail level at Wal-Mart as they start to wind down their HD DVD support.

Last modified on Monday, 18 February 2008 08:02

David Stellmack

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