back to article Toshiba remains upbeat about HD DVD

Today’s Toshiba press conference at CES saw an unprecedented queue hundreds of metres long as hacks lined up to hear Toshiba's take on Warner Home Video's recent announcement to opt for the Blu-ray format. One UK reporter was even offered $50 for her press pass. Inside, Jodi Sally, Marketing VP of the digital A/V Group, …


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  1. Wade Burchette

    Doesn't matter now

    The better format lost this war. The format with less DRM (which automatically makes it better despite anything else Blu-Ray has) lost a major studio. It is probably for the best, but I sure didn't want to see a DRM infested format to win. So, by pass this player and pick up a universal player or a Blu-Ray player based on Profile 2.0 when it is cheap (which still is a ways off).

  2. Anonymous Coward

    In a format war everybody loses.

    Didn't take long for the hd-dvd bashing to commence did it. Personally I went for hd-dvd simply because I already had an xbox and thus was a cheap player.

  3. Nathanael Bastone

    I want HD DVD to win. Its got a more logical name for starters...

    But until we know the outcome, I have refused to buy any HD equipment, I don't want to end up with the DVD equivalent of Beta!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Wade Burchette

    "or a Blu-Ray player based on Profile 2.0 when it is cheap (which still is a ways off)."

    Isn't the ps3 fully capable of being a profile 2.0 player?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Universal players don't sell

    "So, bypass this player and pick up a universal player or a Blu-Ray player based on Profile 2.0 when it is cheap (which still is a ways off)."

    I don't think there's any hope of people buying universal players. They'd be paying 2 sets of license fees to make, making the players more expensive, and since HD DVD won't win now, there's no reason to pay that premium.

    They're both DRM-fests, HD DVD had an additional problem in that it was backed by Microsoft and hence PCs with HD DVD had a live link to home base via Windows Update. I don't fancy fighting my PC over the DRM in the HD DVD player.

  6. Anonymous Coward


    I went for HD-DVD too because of the cheap Xbox360 player but also because of the combo-discs. The HD-DVD consortium really missed a trick. They should have stopped producing regular DVDs and made all HD-DVDs as combo-discs... with the same price as regular discs. Owning HD-DVDs, which play on regular DVD players, would have 'teased' non hi-def owners. But that is hindsight. However if Disney expect me to buy a regular DVD for the kids and a Blu-ray version they can think again. Somehow I don't think there is much added value watching a cartoon in hi-def!

    So it's likely game over for HD-DVD. On the plus side I can look forward to some cheap discs in clearance sales :-)

    (And watch all those Christmas HD-DVD players being returned en masse!)

  7. F Seiler

    their new players

    I would have laughed if they played (High Profile) h.264 off DVD.

  8. leslie

    well I dont know...

    I hate bluray, why, well 1 its overinfested with drm and 2 its sony, who forced me into crappy vhs by losing a war it could have won if not greedy, and thats the key word here, greed, so it can stuff its bluray, I will get a HDdvd player and suffer to the end, its not like any of the current movies are going to sway me.

  9. Ned Fowden

    @Nathanael Bastone

    "I don't want to end up with the DVD equivalent of Beta!"

    whats wrong with Betamax ?

    the quality of these machines is still higher than any VHS model, i still have a Sony & a Philips model, and they're still running great, high quality too !

    i've always been a Toshiba fan, so for me there is no other choice, but like the anonymous poster said, all in all, just go for a multiformat machine .. no worries then !

  10. Busby

    PS3 Blu-Ray

    The latest PS3 update was to make it a blu-ray 1.1 player I have no idea what a profile 2.0 is I know that 1.1 allows for PIP.

  11. Tom

    Toshiba remains upbeat about HD DVD

    I'm not dead!

    I'm getting better!

    I feel fine!

    I think I'll go for a walk.


  12. Dave Skinner

    Nothing to do with Warner...

    ... it's entirely down to the fact that I bought my HD DVD player the day before this was announced.

    With the best will in the world, I have to say that Blu Ray has probably won the format battle now.

  13. Spleen

    Apologia Apocalypse

    "We‘ve been declared dead before... "

    Any statement along these lines translates as "We're dead again".

    I hope whoever wrote that part of the statement has a second job.

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  15. Moo

    Who cares about the winner (or the loser)?

    Whichever format wins, I am not going to buy movies I bought before just because I can see more pixels in them.

    Someday the prices will be as low as regular DVD-RW's and then I may buy any of them for archiving. I lost my hope for set-top players and medias which never want to be a universal plays-them-all gadget. I am just as happy with my crappy home-theatre PC, which can play 1080p content for under $ 400 and may easily accumulate any format winner-loser tray-ROM I upgrade with.

  16. Frank Bough


    We can get on with High Definition video now - or have you all forgotten that what this idiotic war was all about in the first place. rejoice, you'll be sucking down 1080p and uncompressed surround sound before too long.

    This is a happy day for lovers of high quality media.

  17. Craig

    Time for bargains?

    I'm disappointed every one seems to think Blu Ray has 'won' but maybe in a year or so I'll be able to snap up hundreds of movies on the 'dead' format very cheaply :)

  18. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Am I blind??

    An ubergeek mate has all the hi-def bits, new 90" flatescreen TV, the works! Watched a movie on Sky HD, then switched to an ordinary channel - couldn't tell the difference! Loaded up an HD-DVD and it looked just like ordinary DVD. Am I blind or just expecting too much? If ordinary (digital) TV and DVD give 99% of the experience of HD-DVD or BluRay 99% of the time, why buy either? Does anyone know a good movie that really demonstrates the benefits of BluRay I can try, please?

    PS: If you really want to annoy the RIAA chappies, try storing DVD images as MPEGs on old DAT tapes.... Five movies per tape!.... Alledgedly.... Pretty sure the RIAA don't have a levy on DAT. ;)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "The latest PS3 update was to make it a blu-ray 1.1 player I have no idea what a profile 2.0 is I know that 1.1 allows for PIP."

    profile 2 increases the amount of local storage to 1gb and adds a network connection

  20. Frank Bough

    Matt Bryant

    If you can't tell the difference between an HD-DVD/BD and digital SD broadcast then yes, I suppose you must be blind.

    BTW, a NINETY inch TV? Do you live in a hangar?

  21. Bronek Kozicki

    I bought HD DVD just before Christmas

    ... and it still works, despite recent announcement. Gosh, I even keep buying new movies for it (most recently "Bourne Ultimatum" and "Heroes - Series 1 Complete" - try to buy these titles in BR). The player cost me below £200 and am sure it will continue to work with no regard whatsoever to Sony releasing new version of its crapware DRM every few months. Even if it happens that at some point I will buy Blue-Ray player, my TV set has enough HDMI ports to accomodate both.

  22. Bronek Kozicki


    I also think Matt must have seeing difficulties. As to screen size , 90" should be just good for sitting distance of 12' (4m) , according to . This is probably too much for typical room size of British household, but not really much for our American or Australian friends.

  23. Charles Parker


    Take a look at "The Fountain" on Blu Ray, watch this on a HD 1080 TV and it will blow your mind away, the clarity, detail and depth is staggering! The storyline is one of those arty types so you may need to watch it a few times or read up on the net about it :)

    I agree a lot of movies that appear on either HD format are not true HD quality, disappointing but will hopefully get better. I rent all my movies and you can tell the difference between DVD and Bluray, even on the rubbish movies, you get a much clearer sound and the clarity is better, DVDs produce quite muddy pictures. IMHO.

  24. John

    Ninety inches?

    Either male hyperbole or a projector. Either way, you are in fact blind. Unless you were sitting 90 feet away :)

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this is why....

    ...I've bought neither. And I haven't bought an HD TV.

    Honestly, what's the point of running forward to striking position when they haven't even set up the goal-posts yet?

    We've got so many competing combinations of dot-matrix geometry, refresh rate, interlace, codec, physical media, etc etc ad nauseum that the chances of getting the "correct" setup are statistically negligible.

    So while 20th century early-adopters paid extra money for what turned out to be practically bullet-proof kit (my music teacher's first-gen CD player has never refused a CD that could be read by any other machine, even playing ones her PC couldn't recover), 21st century early adopters are paying through the nose for beta test kit, and while the late adopters will be able to get crystal clarity at commodity prices, the early adopters will be viewing blurred, interpolated "uprated" video that jerks (25fps anyone) until they've paid off the second mortgage they had to take out to buy their glorified beta test kit in the first place.

    Ho hum.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Waaa waaa waaa!

    Have to laugh at all the Xbox fanboys crying over Sony's coup "but but but, it has DRM, hence is evil!!"

    Yeah, cos that really makes all the pictures low-def, with mono sound.

    Who cares. If you want piracy the newsgroups are full of blu-ray rips right now, what bloody difference does it make if the anti-copying tech is a bit tougher for blu-ray??

  27. Bronek Kozicki

    HD DVD also has DRM, but ...

    the problem with Blue-Ray DRM is that you may easily find yourself in unfortunate position of being unable to play some of your old movies, because when you viewed your recently purchased "Spider Man 6" movie, the disk silently updated firmware of your player to deny you possibilty of accessing "old and less safe" versions of Blue-Ray format. Sony does not exactly have a history of being open in DRM front and Blue-Ray is specifically designed to allow making these updates as transparent to the user as possible. The other thing I do personally not like about Blue-Ray (and plain old DVDs) is regionalization, which is simply not supported by HD DVD. I wonder how is it possible The Register staff is consistently missing these differences between both formats.

  28. Brian Gannon

    Not over yet

    Don’t think this is quite a big a deal as it first sounds. WB were producing both so HD and Blu Ray so it’s not quite switching camp. What HD need is a studio to switch. This will only happen if people by more HD players, which I think will start to happen because your average dumb consumer and shop assistant will not realise which studios publish to which format. You have to remember the vast majority of these players will be bought by plebs in Argos, Dixons, Currys, Walmart, Costco etc and it is these plebs who will decide which format wins not people like us who understand the differences.

    Blu ray has been given a fillip by PS3 sales but this is a false position because PS3 owners had no choice to by Blu Ray or HD but people who are buying standalone players do and they are choosing HD. PS3 sales will start to slow down after the recent price cuts and before you know it sales of HD and Blu Ray players are not too different but HD sales are people who actually want to buy HD films where the majority of Blu ray player owners won’t be buying as many films because they are PS3 owners and predominantly interested in games.

    As long as Toshiba’s arse doesn’t go come Easter I reckon it will be a different story. Plus I can’t imagine Microsoft will let Sony get one over on them. (Microsoft back HD in case you weren’t aware.)

    That’s my prediction anyway. It’s all about holding your nerve.

  29. Highlander

    @Gannon and other HD-DVD apologists

    Wish folks would stop fooling themselves over this. HD-DVD is dead. It's bleedin' demised. Shuttled off this mortal coil. It is a dead fortmat. (apologies to Monty Python for the horribly remembered para-phrase - it's a pun, geddit?)

    Seriously though, HD-DVD died with this announcement. PS3 is a Blu-Ray player as well as a games console and sold 1.2 million in the US between November 23 and December 31 (according to Sony). Even knocking that down to an even million to be charitable to Toshiba, it should be noted that Toshiba recently mad a big play that it's *to date* sales in the US are only a million. In other words more PS3s were sold over a 6 week period than HD-DVD players since their inception. This doesn't even mention the hundred's of thousands of stand alone Blu-Ray players that have sold.

    Then Warner points out that the annual consumer spend on Blu-Ray movies last year was 60% higher than HD-DVD. Not bad considering HD-DVD had at least a 6 month lead in the market.

    Yeah, it sure sounds like there is no reason to conclude that HD-DVD is a dead format....</sarcasm>

    Blu-Ray is a better format technically. It has higher data and video bitrates as well as larger disc capacity. Both HD-DVD and Blu-Ray are invested with DRM, to say one is worse than the other is to engage in willful stupidity. Of the two formats Blu-Ray is actually the more open and less proprietary of the two (by far). But, hey, let's not let facts get in the way of a good argument shall we?

  30. Bronek Kozicki


    "Of the two formats Blu-Ray is actually the more open and less proprietary of the two (by far). " - anything to support this claim? Also, are you comparing global or US only sales (I know what Blue-Ray is more succesfull in the US)? last but not least - is there any chance that my HD DVD titles will ever stop playing as a result of me playng some newer movie?

  31. Highlander


    You're wrong, by the way. HD-DVD does have provision for region coding, it's simply not used yet. Just like HD-DVD also includes provision for the Image Control Token, which isn't used yet. As others have pointed out, do you honestly think that the movie makers and Toshiba were going to be so altruistic about such features as to ignore them should that format have won out? No way.

    Microsoft is one of the bigger proponents of HD-DVD. Can we honestly look at Microsoft and say that they don't favor DRM? Vista is a DRM laden joke. People are so anti-Sony and distrustful of them, to the point of being intentionally blind to Microsoft and it's DRM past/present. Blind also to the fact that Toshiba is the sole CE major behind HD-DVD, it's essentially their product.

  32. Josh Folcik

    PS3 help to BR is a hoax

    Being that Sony is seriously losing the console wars to Microsoft and Nintendo, I wouldn't believe the market will look very closely at the blueray influence there. All through the holidays every non-arcade 360, and Wii were sold out in my major metropolitan area, you could build a fort in every store with the available PS3's that were collecting dust. The Microsoft HD-DVD drive is under $200, depending on sales it could easily turn the table in any influence the consoles have.

    Xbox 360: 17.7 million, as of January 3, 2008

    Wii: 13.17 million, as of September 30, 2007

    PlayStation 3: 5.59 million, as of September 30, 2007

  33. Anonymous Coward

    @PS3 help to BR is a hoax

    Skipping three months sales of the two competitors when the three missing months include Christmas doesn't really do the credibility of your argument a great deal of good. Particularly seeing as this is the first Xmas that Sony have had global stocks of their platform and been selling it at a mass market price. .

    The add-on drive is an irrelevence. Every single PS3 is a Bluray player, whereas the Microsoft HD-DVD drive has been out for months and hardly anybody buys them. The reason - an Xbox360 is next to useless as a media centre because it makes about as much noise as a vacuum cleaner. People will tolerate the racket for gaming but for playing back movies? Jog on.

  34. Andy Bright

    I have Blu-Ray

    Via PS3 - but I think it's still far too early to declare one format a winner.

    Swings and roundabouts. Potentially Blu-ray has a larger storage capacity, in practice current HD-DVD does - but neither comes close to large enough and both still highly compress data therefore losing potential quality.

    Both formats are for yesterday's era of HDTV, neither has the storage capacity for 2160P, and the first 2160P TVs are old, old news.

    So quite frankly if it's taken this long to catch up with technology nearly a decade old, how long before they produce something that can take advantage of the resolutions that will be on offer next year.

    No I bought my PS3 because even if Blu-ray becomes obsolete, I'll still have a pretty decent games console. Just wish I could find more than 2 pretty decent games to go with it.

  35. Andy Bright

    Most areas PS3s sold out too

    I have friends from the Bay area, Chicago and Norfolk, Virginia telling me they couldn't get hold of the 80G PS3 for any money, and were forced to go online to guarantee delivery within 2 weeks.

    All of them are jealous because I bought mine well ahead of the Christmas shopping rush. Most figured stores like Best Buy and Walmart would re-stock for the January sales and are pissed off with being told "maybe we'll have more tomorrow".

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  37. nt300

    HD DVD still has many legs to run on.

    I do admit that HD DVD was not properly advertized where as Blu-Ray was plastered everywhere you look. The HD DVD Promotional Group is to blame IMO.

    But to call the format war over is greatly irresponsible. The last time I checked studios don’t decide a format war, people do that buy the products. Toshiba won’t be neglecting 1+ million SAL player owners anytime soon. Unless Toshiba presents a press release stating that the war is over, the war is as alive as it was in 2006 & 2007.

    In my most honest opinion HD DVD is a much better format for us and Toshiba really needs to get some good motivating information about HD DVD out soon. People should not abandon HD DVD for this Warner news, but instead brace it. I for one do not want a Sony driven DRM infested format telling me what I can watch and how I will be forced to watch it. People really don’t understand how bad this is for us Theatre Buffs & movie watchers.

    Anybody thinking about selling off their HD DVD player & movies should be doing to opposite and promoting HD DVD players & their movies. It’s VHS vs. BetaMax all over again, and we all know what happened and who won eventually. BetaMax had so much more support vs. VHS and VHS ended up winning in the end.

    Right now, HD DVD is here to stay & Universal/Paramount/DreamWorks need to start dipping into their endless movie titles and release then on HD DVD exclusively ASAP.

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