Tag Archives: format war

Blu-Ray swings with a right. What a beautiful swing…

And the punch knocks HD-DVD, clear out of the ring.

It done, and it’s official. This from Toshiba:

TOKYO–Toshiba Corporation today 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. Toshiba will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.

HD DVD was developed to offer consumers access at an affordable price to high-quality, high definition content and prepare them for the digital convergence of tomorrow where the fusion of consumer electronics and IT will continue to progress.

“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 continue to lead innovation, in a wide range of technologies that will drive mass market access to high definition content. These include high capacity NAND flash memory, small form factor hard disk drives, next generation CPUs, visual processing, and wireless and encryption technologies. The company expects to make forthcoming announcements around strategic progress in these convergence technologies.

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. Toshiba also plans to end volume production of HD DVD disk drives for such applications as PCs and games in the same timeframe, yet will continue to make efforts to meet customer requirements. The company will continue to assess the position of notebook PCs with integrated HD DVD drives within the overall PC business relative to future market demand.

This decision will not impact on Toshiba’s commitment to standard DVD, and the company will continue to market conventional DVD players and recorders. Toshiba intends to continue to contribute to the development of the DVD industry, as a member of the DVD Forum, an international organization with some 200 member companies, committed to the discussion and defining of optimum optical disc formats for the consumer and the related industries.

Toshiba also intends to maintain collaborative relations with the companies who joined with Toshiba in working to build up the HD DVD market, including Universal Studios, Paramount Pictures, and DreamWorks Animation and major Japanese and European content providers on the entertainment side, as well as leaders in the IT industry, including Microsoft, Intel, and HP. Toshiba will study possible collaboration with these companies for future business opportunities, utilizing the many assets generated through the development of HD DVD.

Retailers Put Down Crackpipe, National Nightmare At An End

It’s raining Toshiba executives, because they’re all jumping out of windows! This past week, Netflix, Best Buy and retail giant Wal-Mart announced that they would either be focusing strongly on pushing Blu-Ray, or dropping HD-DVD from their shelves entirely. Now, Toshiba is expected to announce that they are giving up on the format entirely. What does this mean? It means that this format war BS is finally over! Of course, Netflix and Best Buy helped push things along after Warner Bros. announced they would be supporting the Blu-Ray format exclusively, but I think it was Wal-Mart that really pushed things over the edge. We all know that if Wal-Mart came out and said they were dropping their support for water, people would stop drinking it, and then the oceans would go out of business, right along with Toshiba. But that makes no sense. Anyway, if any of you were looking for an excuse to replace your already expensive DVD collections with even more expensive next generation format discs, it’s your lucky day. $35 for Waterworld? Bingo!

Paramount’s Next Move

Ever since Warner Bros. bitch-slapped HD-DVD last week, announcing that they would be dropping the high-def format in favor of Blu-Ray exclusivity, people have been keeping their eyes on Paramount to see what they’ll do next. The London Financial Times is running a story saying that it’s very possible the studio will use a “get out” clause in it’s contract that would allow them to either dump HD-DVD or go format neutral. It’s also been reported that Paramount/DreamWorks will not be announcing any new high-def titles at CES, although they are “still supporting HD-DVD.” I’m sure no one should worry or take this as a sign that Paramount is going to drop HD-DVD faster than the New York Jets drop footballs. There should be a lot more on this tomorrow.

Toshiba strikes back, struck at.

In response to Warner Brothers’ announcement that, beginning June 1, 2008, they will dump HD-DVD to exclusively support the Blu-Ray high definition format, Toshiba had this to say:

 

“TOKYO — Toshiba is quite surprised by Warner Bros.’ decision to abandon HD DVD in favor of Blu-ray, despite the fact that there are various contracts in place between our companies concerning the support of HD DVD. As central members of the DVD Forum, we have long maintained a close partnership with Warner Bros. We worked closely together to help standardize the first-generation DVD format as well as to define and shape HD DVD as its next-generation successor.

We were particularly disappointed that this decision was made in spite of the significant momentum HD DVD has gained in the US market as well as other regions in 2007. HD DVD players and PCs have outsold Blu-ray in the US market in 2007.

We will assess the potential impact of this announcement with the other HD DVD partner companies and evaluate potential next steps. We remain firm in our belief that HD DVD is the format best suited to the wants and needs of the consumer.”

Variety has an interesting article (http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117978461.html?categoryid=1009&cs=1), with one interesting piece of information: HD-DVD has cancelled it’s Sunday night press event at CES this weekend. There are a lot of people saying that, after this weekend, HD-DVD has gone the way of Betamax, Laser Disc, and the wok. Not a moment too soon. Again…

 

… two thumbs up.

Warner goes Blu.

As someone who’s been following the high-def format war very closely, I was interested to hear today that Warner Brothers will support Blu-Ray exclusively beginning in May 2008. Why is this interesting? Well, for one, it means that 70% of the big studios have now gone Blu-Ray exclusive. Two, it means that this entire format war is now that much closer to being over. Here’s the Warner press release:

WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT TO RELEASE ITS HIGH-DEFINITION DVD TITLES EXCLUSIVELY IN THE BLU-RAY DISC FORMAT BEGINNING LATER THIS YEAR

Decision Made in Response to Strong Consumer Preference for Format

(January 4, 2008 – Burbank, CA) – In response to consumer demand, Warner Bros. Entertainment will release its high-definition DVD titles exclusively in the Blu-ray disc format beginning later this year, it was announced today by Barry Meyer, Chairman & CEO, Warner Bros. and Kevin Tsujihara, President, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group.

“Warner Bros.’ move to exclusively release in the Blu-ray disc format is a strategic decision focused on the long term and the most direct way to give consumers what they want,” said Meyer. “The window of opportunity for high-definition DVD could be missed if format confusion continues to linger. We believe that exclusively distributing in Blu-ray will further the potential for mass market success and ultimately benefit retailers, producers, and most importantly, consumers.”

Warner Home Video will continue to release its titles in standard DVD format and Blu-ray. After a short window following their standard DVD and Blu-ray releases, all new titles will continue to be released in HD DVD until the end of May 2008.

“Warner Bros. has produced in both high-definition formats in an effort to provide consumer choice, foster mainstream adoption and drive down hardware prices,” said Jeff Bewkes, President and Chief Executive Officer, Time Warner Inc., the parent company of Warner Bros. Entertainment. “Today’s decision by Warner Bros. to distribute in a single format comes at the right time and is the best decision both for consumers and Time Warner.”

“A two-format landscape has led to consumer confusion and indifference toward high definition, which has kept the technology from reaching mass adoption and becoming the important revenue stream that it can be for the industry,” said Tsujihara. “Consumers have clearly chosen Blu-ray, and we believe that recognizing this preference is the right step in making this great home entertainment experience accessible to the widest possible audience. Warner Bros. has worked very closely with the Toshiba Corporation in promoting high definition media and we have enormous respect for their efforts. We look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”

I’m sure there are a lot of you HD-DVD-philes out there right now who are royally pissed at this news. But, even for you, the news isn’t all bad. Now, as Blu-Ray gains more support from studios and the public, both HD-DVD players AND your favorite titles will be given away for free in boxes of Captain Crunch and Cracker Jacks. The savings!

We here at Move It Move It (“we” being myself and the janitor) applaud Warner Brothers and give this move…

 

…two thumbs up.