updated 03:30 pm EST, Mon February 18, 2008
HD DVD Stopped by March
Toshiba is readying a quick end to HD DVD that may come as early as March, according to a report by Japan's Nikkei BP (subscription needed for full access). The business publication claims that Toshiba chief Atsutoshi Nishida will announce the end of Toshiba's contribution to the format as early as tomorrow, all but ending HD DVD's viability as a disc standard. In the reported plan, Toshiba will cease sales of all its own hardware by March, including its stand-alone movie players as well as optical drives for desktop PCs and notebooks. Optical disks made by Toshiba itself will also be discontinued.
No third parties are yet known to be following suit, though are expected to follow Toshiba's actions without significant support.
Although the announcement is likely to be followed by news of additional factories for Toshiba's more successful semiconductor business, the cancellation is expected to represent one of Toshiba's most significant defeats in consumer electronics and will cost the company hundreds of millions of dollars in expenses as well as abandoned production and marketing efforts. Toshiba has been HD DVD's key proponent and was often the sole provider of HD DVD devices, though other device markers have frequently used its technology for computer drives and multi-format players.
Toshiba has not officially announced any plans of its own but provided support to claims over the weekend by saying it would review its options for its HD DVD business, expressing its first public signs of doubt over the viability of the format. HD DVD has seen a rapid decline in its marketshare and influence since Warner Bros. announced it would produce movies only in Blu-ray, leaving few movies available on HD DVD and many retailers withdrawing the movie discs from their store shelves.