After swallowing the bitter pill of defeat in the protracted high-definition DVD format war with Sony, Toshiba may be preparing to launch its own Blu-ray player, a Japanese newspaper reports.
Technology company Toshiba, which lost a protracted high-definition DVD
format war with rival Sony (Toshiba backed HD DVD
technology, but Sony's Blu-ray player prevailed) is getting ready to produce
Blu-ray players of its own, according to the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri. The
newspaper didn't cite any sources, although the paper also reported that Toshiba
is also planning to product Blu-ray DVD
recording devices later on.
Toshiba declared on Feb. 19 that it would no longer manufacture or market HD
DVD players. Support for the format had been
steadily eroding as major film studios like Warner Bros. announced that they
had chosen the Blu-ray format, developed by Sony, Panasonic, Philips and
others, to release their films in high definition.
Toshiba President Atsutoshi Nishida announced at the time, "We
concluded that a swift decision would be best [and] if we had continued, that
would have created problems for consumers, and we simply had no chance to win."
However, Toshiba continued to supply retailers with machines until the end
of March 2008, and the company then continued to provide technical support to
the estimated 1 million people worldwide who owned HD DVD
players and recorders. While the suggestion that Toshiba would cross over to
its former competitor's side and support a format it once fought against may
sound strange, hard media formats are facing competition from rapidly
proliferating digital download options from companies like Netflix and cable
operators such as Comcast.
Comcast announced on July 13 a partnership with Time Warner television
programming subsidiaries Home Box Office and Cinemax, two subscription cable
channels, to offer content online for the first time. At launch, the HBO and
Cinemax broadband services on Comcast's On Demand Online will include popular
films and television series.
On July 9, online movie rental service Netflix announced a partnership with
Sony Electronics that will enable Netflix subscribers to instantly watch movies
streamed from the rental site on Sony's Bravia Internet video-capable
high-definition televisions and on previous Bravia models compatible with Sony's
Bravia Internet video link module.
Netflix said beginning in fall 2009, members on an unlimited plan will be
able use Sony Bravia Internet video-capable HD TVs to watch the more than
12,000 movies and TV episodes streamed from Netflix. Sony is the latest
consumer electronics company to partner with Netflix, after Microsoft (with the
video game console Xbox 360), LG Electronics, Roku, Samsung, Tivo and Vizio.
Nathan Eddy is Associate Editor, Midmarket, at eWEEK.com. Before joining eWEEK.com, Nate was a writer with ChannelWeb and he served as an editor at FierceMarkets. He is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.