R.I.P. HD-DVD..

blu-ray wins

At a press conference a few minutes ago, Toshiba officially announced that it will “no longer develop, manufacture and market” any 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.

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.

The move effectively kills the format and finally brings to an end the several year long format war that has been running since both Blu-ray and HD-DVD were first announced.

HD-DVD exclusive studios Paramount and Universal are expected to have been freed from their commitments, in fact talk has it that Paramount has already been getting Blu-ray copies of its major 2007 performers like “Transformers,” “Blades of Glory” and “Zodiac” ready for release quickly. Blu-ray versions of HD-DVD only titles like “Batman Begins,” “The Mummy,” and “Heroes: Season 1” are expected to all hit shelves later in the year.

So thinking of going out and buying a Blu-ray player right now? Hold it a moment. If you’ve already bought a stand-alone Blu-ray player other than a Playstation 3 then you’ll be stuck with the HD-DVD people – ie. likely to throw out your player in the near future.

Only players capable of playing Blu-ray’s 2.0 profile (aka. BD-Live) are truly future proof. At present, the only player capable of doing that is the PS3, though Panasonic and Sony are expected to release players soon that use the standard. We’re also still a good year or so off from the holy grail – a region free Blu-ray and DVD player that can play either format disc from anywhere in the world.

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~ by mattmcg on February 19, 2008.

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