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Toshiba Throws a “Hail Mary” to Save HD DVD

Newly rolled out price cuts are designed to attract consumers to a format that's taken more hits than the star quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys.


image

The HD DVD tower at Toshiba’s CES booth.

With losses piling up faster than Wade Phillips' playoff record, Toshiba is rolling out every trick in its playbook to counter the growing momentum that the Blu-ray format is building.

Faster than you can say, "a wide-open Patrick Crayton drops a Romo pass," Toshiba has introduced an aggressive new pricing policy that is designed to help stem the swelling wave of support Blu-ray has garnered.

The recent announcement that Warner Brothers will only back Blu-ray starting in May and the grim attendance of its booth at CES last week have many pundits proclaiming the format's death, even though Toshiba says it is committed to HD DVD.

The cuts announced today represent price breaks in the 20 percent to 40 percent range for hardware and software, representing what is probably the company's last chance to save a format that is already positioned in the market as a lower-cost alternative.

Without sounding like one of those "I told you so types," I did predict that Blu-ray would prevail, but I never thought it would go down like this and I never thought that Warner would make a decision so quickly.

I have two HD DVD players at home, and once I heard the Warner news, I -- like many others that attended CES -- came to the conclusion that HD DVD was essentially dead because it won't have the necessary wealth of titles to back the format.

It was this sentiment that probably contributed to the ghost town-like atmosphere that enveloped the HD DVD booth at the show.

Now that it appears that Toshiba has fired the last bullet in its HD DVD marketing arsenal, I wish that the egos that run both technology camps could have sat down and ironed things out.

In the grand scheme of things, these groups could have acted in the best interest of the industry and consumers everywhere and worked out a compromise solution that would have saved everyone a lot of money.

It also would have saved a good company like Toshiba the humiliation of losing a very public battle.




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Article Topics

News · Product News · Blu-ray · Blu-ray · All topics

About the Author

Robert Archer, Senior Editor, CE Pro
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass.

22 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Whitestar16  on  01/14  at  01:41 PM

Lets not confuse booths—HD-DVD was VERY well attended as was their informative presentation.

The article must be referring to the Toshiba booth and its HD-DVD section- which I agree…was poorly attended- and physically poorly positioned as well.

I agree that Blu ray looks like a winner as far as a hi def format, but its still a loser technologically, drastically trailing HD-DVD in capabilities.

Its own success is not guarnteed at this point as its pricing wont allow it to supplant sd-dvd and with streaming hi def downlaods now here ( which HD-DVD players can stream FYI), Blu Ray has its work cut out for it.

Posted by Crude Dude  on  01/14  at  02:46 PM

I personally liked seeing Peyton Manning going down for once.(Go Chargers!)
As for Blu-Ray:it won’t last either,eventually the studios will push for HD downloads…and if Sony et al thinks Blu-Ray has a chance against SD DVD worldwide then they are crazy.

Posted by CW  on  01/14  at  04:31 PM

The Cowboys beat themselves.  With the exception of taking a sack he should not have and the last throw that became his only INT for the day, Romo played great.  Go Cowboys!  They’ll be back next year and everyone can look out.

As for HD-DVD, put a fork in it, they’re done.

Posted by joemama  on  01/14  at  06:11 PM

Well, another Cowboys hater…imagine that. I guess you got a kick out of writing that didn’t you? Unless your team is either the Pack or Pats…you are already done for the year or close to it. smile

Posted by Ugly American  on  01/14  at  06:16 PM

Sony are the splitters.  HD-DVD was done.  They broke away after seeing all the plans so they could make an incompatible standard and require everyone to pay them for every disk sold.  Now high off highjacking the HD-DVD format, Sony is immediately trying to highjack the wireless USB standard so they can charge everyone for everything sold that uses it.

Sony is guilty of antisocial behavior again.

I won’t reward them again.  I’ll just download.

Posted by Steelheart1948  on  01/14  at  06:59 PM

Buying HD DVD now, is like booking a last minute cruise on the Titanic.  Just for the record, I don’t own either format, but I expect I’m going to get the Panasonic Model 50 when it comes out.

Posted by Soundzilla  on  01/14  at  07:49 PM

Exactly HOW is Blu-ray a “loser” in technology? What cutting-edge, 2008 technology does your HD-DVD player utilize that my PS3 does not?   

PiP is lame, and was news in 1992 when it was new on TVs. It’s probably the least-requested feature on anything people go to buy today at their local electronics retailer.  Blu-ray is a great technology. I am glad that we can finally replace the aging DVD-R drives in our computers with a 50GB alternative, rather than a 30GB replacement.  If you’re waiting for HD streaming, I hope you’re patient. The Internet isn’t prepared for millions of people streaming HD signals, and won’t be for another 5-10 years.

Posted by Home Theater & TV Installation  on  01/14  at  09:30 PM

HD streaming has been available for about a year now.

Posted by ryan  on  01/14  at  09:37 PM

Sounds like someone is jealous of Romo, hey you can talk about the game all you want but the man has an impressive record, and im not talking about football

Posted by Darren  on  01/15  at  05:47 AM

I just bought a reduced price A-30.  I probably won’t buy a lot of HD-DVD, but I will use the player as an upconverter and will rent HD-DVD from Netflix.

SD DVD will work just fine for other movies until a reasonably priced Blu-ray player comes out, or I spring for a PS3.

Posted by ALWYN WILLIAMS  on  01/15  at  06:06 AM

The statement that Toshiba are fighting back by cutting prices is not the true reason,what they are about is clearing their stock of hardware before they become obsolete

Posted by Jason  on  01/15  at  06:29 AM

I agree, I think this is a clearance/going out of business sale myself.

Next up, dual format player from Toshiba to save face.

Posted by Travis  on  01/15  at  11:39 AM

Cut your losses, HD DVD.
Let’s see your dual format player and be done.

Posted by Chris Richwine  on  01/15  at  02:16 PM

Good riddance…those Toshiba paperweights will not be missed. 

I haven’t been recommending either format since day one.  Upconverting SD players are still a safe bet in my opinion.

Posted by Bill Roh Jr.  on  01/15  at  03:05 PM

“A good company like Toshiba” is how the they are described in the article. My company stopped carrying Toshiba ever since they sold silent propeller technology illegally to the old Soviet Union - for the purpose of blasting us into nuclear oblivion. Good companies don’t sell nuclear secrets to Communist governments at a time of cold war. And they don’t get a pass later on either.

Of course, HD DVD being a loser from the outset was yet another reason my show floor has never stocked the format.

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