Tokyo, Japan (February 20, 2008)–In January, Warner Bros. Entertainment announced that it would no longer be supporting the HD DVD disc format, and within a week player sales plunged. Wal-Mart, Netflix and Best Buy quickly followed suit, electing to only stock Blu-ray Discs; as expected, lead proponent Toshiba has now pulled the plug on HD DVD.
In a statement, Toshiba Corporation announced that it has undertaken a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD and has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. This decision has been made following recent major changes in the market, according to the statement. Toshiba will continue to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.
“We carefully assessed the long-term impact of continuing the so-called ‘next-generation format war’ and concluded that a swift decision will best help the market develop,” said Atsutoshi Nishida, president and CEO of Toshiba Corporation. “While we are disappointed for the company and more importantly, for the consumer, the real mass market opportunity for high definition content remains untapped and Toshiba is both able and determined to use our talent, technology and intellectual property to make digital convergence a reality.”
Toshiba will begin to reduce shipments of HD DVD players and recorders to retail channels, aiming for cessation of these businesses by the end of March 2008.
Sales of HD DVD and BD players were fairly neck-and-neck until the start of the year and the Warner Bros. announcement, after which BD players accounted for 90 percent of sales. By the end of 2007, it was estimated that BD discs were outselling HD DVD titles by three to one. There are still less than 400 titles on the market for the nascent hi-def players.