Tokyo: Blu-ray has finally scored against its rival format, HD DVD. Retail giant Wal-Mart has announced that it will only sell high-definition DVDs in the Blu-ray format, across its 4,000 US stores.
Citing customer preference for Blu-ray, which is developed by Sony, it plans to phase out the rival format by June. Earlier, film rental firm company Blockbuster, and movie studio Warner Bros. too had switched allegiance to Blu-ray.
Industry wide, better picture quality and larger capacity of the next-generation DVDs and players is being counted upon to breathe new life into the $24 billion global home DVD market
Reminiscent of the Betamax-VHS battle of the 1980s (which VHS finally won), a dual standard in HD DVDs has been impacting sales of both formats, besides frustrating retailers and customers, both of whom ran the risk of rapid obsolescence of the product.
With Toshiba Corporation bowing out of the HD DVD business, the field is now clear for Sony. Toshiba announced that subsequent to a thorough review of its overall strategy for HD DVD, the company has decided it will no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders. Toshiba will continue, however, to provide full product support and after-sales service for all owners of Toshiba HD DVD products.
Atsutoshi Nishida, President and CEO of Toshiba Corporation said, "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. 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 has announced that it would cease production of its HD DVD players and recorders immediately, and close out the business by the end of March.
"It was a heartbreaking decision, but we considered the impact of continuing the business on our earnings, the next-generation DVD market and consumers," said Toshiba Chief Executive Atsutoshi Nishida at a news conference.
(See: Toshiba dumps HD DVD; ends format war)