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Toshiba Gives Up On HD-DVD

The greatest war for the next-generation video format has finally come to an end— Toshiba’s pulled the plug on its war with Sony’s Blu-Ray. According to latest reports, Toshiba has formally announced that it would not be continuing its HD-DVD business. This race was definitely fiercer than the earlier video battle over Betamax and VHS. This time, it was companies that were deciding what the consumer gets and not the other way round! With companies such as Sony and Toshiba pitted against each other, it was stiff competition all the way through. For Sony, it was a matter of prestige to win this battle, as it had already lost with Betamax to JVC in the VHS days.

On one side was the Blu-Ray consortium led by Sony, with Apple, Dell, HP, Sharp, Philips, Panasonic, Hitachi and eight other companies on Blu-Ray’s board of directors. On the other hand, the HD-DVD front was led by Toshiba, followed by Sanyo, NEC and Memory Tech. This time, however, the battle was prolonged, and there was a host of factors that decided the outcome. The most significant decisive factor, however, was the gaming industry. Microsoft, the makers of the Xbox 360 has been a strong supporter of the HD-DVD standard.

In contrast, Sony—the makers of the PlayStation 3—have understandably supported the Blu-Ray format. As a result, the soaring sales of gaming applications have yielded a significant rise in the sales of Blu-Ray discs. With half the battle won in the gaming industry, the remaining half of the battle was decided by Hollywood. Till recently, Universal and Paramount Studios were the only Hollywood studios to back HD-DVDs—the majority had backed Blu-Ray. The most significant of them was Time Warner, which switched totally from HD- DVD to Blu-Ray, leaving Sony with a virtual monopoly in the DVD format arena. So where does Toshiba go from here? And what about Sony? The latest news says that Sony is in talks with Toshiba to sell its PS3 chip manufacturing plant for an amount to supposedly in excess of $ 858 million. Both Toshiba and Sony Corpora ion, have reportedly partnered with Sony Computer Electronic Entertainment Inc. (SCEI) for the production of high- performance semiconductors.

The whole DVD fiasco doesn’t seem to have ended on a bitter note after all... Most technological developments and gadgets enter Indian shores after they have been tried and tested in Europe and the Americas. For example, the iPhone has not yet been launched in India—the average Indian consumer normally complains about this fact. However, this time round we should be thankful for the late entry of the high-definition DVD battle into India—actually it hasn’t got here yet! Overall, Indian consumers have not been significantly affected by all the hue and cry among the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD camps. The average Indian consumer, till now has been happy with the normal DVD format. With significant certainty, now emerging in the DVD arena, Indians can now decide purely by the deals they get!