Toshiba to drop HD DVD, sources say
Company says no decision has been made
By Thomas K. Arnold and Erik Gruenwedel
Feb 15, 2008
The format war has turned into a format death watch.
Toshiba is widely expected to pull the plug on its HD DVD format sometime in the coming weeks, reliable industry sources say, after a rash of retail defections that followed Warner Home Video's announcement in early January that it would support only the rival Blu-ray Disc format after May.
Officially, no decision has been made, insists Jodi Sally, vp of marketing for Toshiba America Consumer Products. "Based on its technological advancements, we continue to believe HD DVD is the best format for consumers, given the value and consistent quality inherent in our player offerings," she said.
But she hinted that something's in the air. "Given the market developments in the past month," she said, "Toshiba will continue to study the market impact and the value proposition for consumers, particularly in light of our recent price reductions on all HD DVD players."
Immediately after the Warner announcement, the HD DVD North American Promotional Group canceled its Consumer Electronics Show presentation. The following week, data collected by the NPD Group revealed Blu-ray took in 93% of all hardware sales for that week.
Toshiba subsequently fired back, drastically cutting its HD DVD player prices by as much as half, effective Jan. 15. But a hoped-for consumer sales surge never materialized; retail point-of-sale data collected by the NPD Group for the week ending Jan. 26 still showed Blu-ray Disc players ahead by a wide margin, 65% to 28%.
Software sales have declined as well. The latest Nielsen VideoScan First Alert sales data show the top-selling Blu-ray Disc title for the week, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's "Across the Universe," sold more than three times as many copies the week ending Feb. 10 as the top HD DVD seller, Universal Studios Home Entertainment's "Elizabeth: The Golden Age." Blu-ray Disc titles also accounted for 81% of all high-def disc sales for the week, with HD DVD at just 19%.
Toshiba had been pitching its discounted HD DVD players toward the standard DVD crowd as well as high-def enthusiasts, noting in its ad message that the new players would make DVDs look a lot better as well. And as a last-ditch effort, the company ran an ad during the Super Bowl -- a 30-second spot that reportedly cost $2.7 million.
But in the end, sources say, the substantial loss Toshiba is incurring with each HD DVD player sold -- a figure sources say could be as high as several hundred dollars -- coupled with a series of high-profile retail defections has driven the company to at last concede defeat.
I wonder how much the players will start to go for if this is true? I for one have plenty of space for both a HD and bluray player in my setup, and the thought of loads of cheap HD movies is pretty tempting, especially given the likelihood of bluray prices staying exactly where they are for a while with this news.
Bit sad if it is true. The region free aspect was a real advantage.
There are rumours that Toshiba has two Blu-Ray players in the pipeline.. $299 and $499.. that's what might have lead to this report.
I don't think that they would dump HD DVD entirely.. it's more likely they would go dual format. Considering how close the formats are, it's not crazy talk to imagine them combining the formats. If the dual format players they make are cheap and good enough (plus 2.0 profile) then they would sell insanely well. That would be a clever way of keeping HD DVD in the game...... they don't have many options left for them.
There are rumours that Toshiba has two Blu-Ray players in the pipeline.. $299 and $499..
"1080living.com has learned through sources in the distribution and retail business that the buzz is Toshiba already has a Blu-Ray player in the works ready for production for a September 08 release but now this has been pushed up to a July 08 release with recent events in the industry.
This would make sense as Toshiba is a major electronics giant and supporting Blu-Ray will only benefit the company in the long run. Toshiba is currently liquidating HD-DVD players for as little as $90.00 which many analyst consider to be under their cost but as demand dries up Toshiba is trying to cash in on last minute consumers that will be swayed by price alone.
One source cited 2 players are in the works with a price target of $250 and $350.00."
This looks like complete FUD to me. Where are the "sources"? On another forum it was said that the quote attributed to Toshiba was actually given when Net Flix decided to not rent HD DVD discs.
This is what annoys me the most - people making up facts, it being accepted as gospel, then spreads like wild fire and when a denial is issued the denial is not heard through the Blu laughter of another sucker fell for it.
Hmm, well if they produced a dual format player it would certainly be interesting. Personally, I would like them to produce a Blu Ray player that had same specs as my EP 35 then I could finally get rid of the lame duck of a PS3 that I have.
Oi, there ain't nothing wrong with Ducks!!!! Specially lame ones!
Sad news if true but to be honest its not like tosh have been trying since the WB announcement... oh how different things would have been had it swung the other way.... now stuck with lack luster transfers on BD25 discs...