back to article Official: Toshiba discontinues HD DVD

Toshiba has abandoned HD DVD "following recent major changes in the market", it announced this morning. The company spun the failure of its favourite format as a move made to strengthen the industry. The consumer electronics giant said it will "no longer develop, manufacture and market HD DVD players and recorders". It will …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Horns


    Isn't it sad to see that M$'s investement (bungs) came to nothing and the better technology finally won.... now hopefully i can get Transformers on BR....

    I do feel sorry for all the XBox 360 fan bois who went out and purchased the HD-DVD add-on for their little red circle of doom machine... NOT.

  2. David Gosnell


    Is there the remotest hope that existing HD-DVD players may be able to be patched for Blu-ray compatibility? How much of the difference between the two is in the hardware (e.g. the physical data depth) and how much in the firmware?

    Hey ho, early adoption, yay! Me, sticking with normal DVD thanks.

  3. Andy Pellew
    Thumb Up

    At last!

    Whilst I'm sure Toshiba has learnt lessons from this let's hope that the companies looking to start the NEXT format war look back on the huge losses Toshiba has made and pause for thought ...

    Goes to show though; content is king.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Cest la vie..

    Both sides of this format war had to know that one would win and one would lose and both will have had strategies for that eventuality so the losing side will likely not be too devestated.

    All the suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^H consumers that didn't wait till the format war was over and backed the losing side may be a little more upset.

    May just nip out and get a Blu-Ray player tonight.

  5. Christopher Rogers
    Thumb Up


    Hi-DEF and disk formats can now continue to evolve, now that people know which path take.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What about Dreamworks? Do they get out of their contract, or are they stuck till May 31st still?

    And what about some sackings in the studios that chose the wrong winner?

  7. Monkey
    Thumb Down

    Shame on Reg

    ...for promoting the misconception of BR being owned by Sony.

    I can only assume that closing paragraph was indeed intended to prompt the usual rants from the usual pro HD-DVD people and generate traffic.

    There has been so much said about the other BR associate members lately it was a pretty inexcusable boo-boo if it wasn't delberate!

    Naughty, naughty Reg.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Time to do the dance...!

    Oh yeah it's gone, it's gone! w00t w00t! Party time! Bring on the Blu-Ray future! :D :D

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    HD DVD is dead - long live HD

    So what's next?

  10. dervheid


    I bet the senior exec's at Sony are glad they didn't back the wrong horse this time round!

  11. Jason Aspinall
    Thumb Up

    About bloody time!!

    Finally, some sense and sensibility about the whole blu-ray/hd-dvd debable.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dropping like flies

    Blimey, it's all happening. First Steve Fossett is announced as officially dead, and then the next day HD-DVD...

  13. Will

    Fantastic youtube video of this

  14. Test Man

    Re: compatibility

    Not a chance, they are different enough to need proper hardware to be able to read both (which is why they are seperate dual-media players).

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    Gone but not forgotten

    Expect to hear for years to come from all the HD-DVD lobbyists about how their preferred format was superior, only didn't make it because there was no consumer choice, Sony bought the studios, Who needed that extra bandwidth and capacity etc. Personally, I think chucking the players out of the door at a massive loss with 7 films gave people all the choice they needed. WE DIDN'T WANT IT!

    Many cheers for blu-ray - The consumer has spoken :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Graceful degradation...

    "...reduce shipments of HD DVD players to retail channels..."

    Why would anyone buy an HDDVD player now? Why would the retailers want to receive shipments of doorstops? I suppose they might have contracted to buy ahead of time, but...

  17. Andy Turner

    You have to give Toshiba credit

    for doing the right thing and not dragging it out for months on end.

  18. Mark

    Paramount and Universal are released..

    As reported in the Wall St Journal, if/when Toshiba called it a day, the contracts are torn up, and Paramount and Universal are free to release on Blu-ray. Warner is also free to dump HD DVD sooner than May/June.

    I would expect announcements from Paramount/Universal this week, if not this afternoon, as soon as the US wakes up.

    HD DVD has just collected it's coat

  19. bond Bond
    Dead Vulture

    PS3 sale will climb

    there is one more reason to buy PS3 and one less for the 360. How come M$ didn't learn from PS2 and rolled out the 360 with the built in HD-DVD drive and then dominated the market. They have sold 13million+ 360 but only handful of HD-DVD player are in the market. While PS3 sold only a few million units and they already have few millions of blu-ray players around the globe. Anyway, BR is a more superior format over HD-DVD.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Now I want to spend some money.....


    Now off to invest in a PS3 and loads of Bluray films!

  21. LPF

    The battle is over, the war continues...

    I use an upscaling DVD cost me £50 and matches both blu-ray and hd-dvd, so did n't care who won, still not buying until the discs are teh same in price as DVD.

    Everyone seems to forget that both formats are massively outsold by DVD, and until blu-ray players come done to £100 and less level, which with no comptetition is not for some time, its going to still be a niche market. Ah well you can get a PS3 and get it thrown in for free I suppose :D

  22. John Martin

    Re: Compatibility

    @Test Man

    They can't be that different. There are a couple of dual format players out there and I have an LG Combo drive sitting in a media centre PC at home. If that little LG drive can incorporate all the relevant enginerring to cope with any differences then surely it just comes down to firmware/driver software. Tosh could release the firmware code to the opensource community and let them get on with it.

  23. Stu

    HA! Its done!

    Nice one, us consumers are now much better off with one format. One HD Standard to follow instead of this stupid segregation of format allegiances between studios.

    But didn't it take longer for Betamax to be forced out of the arena (although Beta WAS technically the better format) back in the 80s?

    The announcement also suggests that HDDVD device owners would be left a bit in the lurch - likely there will be no more firmware updates or any support. This is a bit out of order I thought.

    I do think microsoft were partly responsible for its demise (along with all the other reasons) due to not building HDDVD into the XBox 360 Elite.

    But being a PS3 owner, I for one welcome our digital HD overlords with their 1080p 25Gb per layer goodness. Id wager it means better support for ridiculously high quality encoded video, > 20 / 30 MB/s plus multiple switchable cam angles. May mean pixel perfect photographic quality freeze frames too.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Xbox 360 and HD-DVD/Blueray

    There was a reason M$ didn't release the 360 with built in HD-DVD and this is the reason. Now M$ can just make Blue-ray players and keep their fan base happy.

    It would have been funny to see the opposite and see what would have happened if (BIG IF) Blue-ray had failed. Then a huge amount of PS3 users would have had Blue-ray with no videos to play on it. I know Sony use the Blue-ray format for the games but what the hell.

  25. ElFatbob

    @ AC

    'All the suckers^H^H^H^H^H^H^H consumers that didn't wait till the format war was over and backed the losing side may be a little more upset.'

    Not really a fair comment. As you pointed out, inevitably one side was going to lose eventually, but how many people do you think would have waited a decade to decide, had the format war carried on as long as VHS/Betamax?

    At least all the willy-wagging about the 'better' format can now stop.

    I think Sony has to be given some credit here for a risky but canny strategy that seems to have paid off.

    As for the 'big bad corporation' comments I keep reading on ElReg regarding Sony - ask yourself the following: Where do you do your grocery shopping? Where do you buy your petrol? Who do you pay to watch tv? What operating system does your PC run? What kind of car do you drive? The majority of us will be lining the profits of some large corporation somewhere along the line.

    Am i fan of corporations? No. But i try not to pretend that one is really any better than the other.

  26. MGJ
    Paris Hilton

    Consumer choice

    Can anyone find a BR player with built HDD recorder? I just want one unit to replace my old video, DVD, and STB. Dual freeview tuners a must, BR-RW optional, but is there any such thing out there (HDMI connection and upscaler to 1080P)

  27. James


    The only way we ever would have known if HD or Blu-ray was better would have been to see all studios release all their movies on both formats. Given the expense of blu-ray players and movies it's going to be a long while before I think about buying one.

  28. Joe K

    Wow, to be around at the death of a format

    What a month its been, hell, what a week!!

    Its only recently forums were still full of HD-DVD fans stubbornly defending their choice, and even el Reg here showed crap from the backers trying to put positive spin on the numbers:

    "PS3's don't count!!"

    Oh yes they bloody did matey!

  29. Anonymous Coward

    Good on Netflix, Best Buy, Walmart and Woolworths...

    ..for dumping hd-dvd rather than suckering more consumers with obsolete technology which is what toshibas original dumping plan was. Just the people at the sharp end knew they were the ones who'd have to deal with irate customers so publicly ditched the format forcing toshiba's hand

  30. Timbo
    IT Angle

    Shame !!

    Am I the only one to remember that the only two firms who (apart from Sony) supported Betamax were: Sanyo and......Toshiba....!!

    Somehow, though, I doubt the same management team that decided on Beta, were the same as who decided on HD-DVD.

    Guess there'll be plenty of cheap HD-DVD players out there now.....but will this mean the price of Blu-Ray machines will go up as a result (ie: no more "competition" ??)



  31. Andy Worth

    Re:PS3 sale will climb

    Expect a Blu-Ray addon player for the Xbox 360 very soon. Microsoft even suggested as much, that if Blu-Ray won then they'd consider releasing a standalone player for it. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see one in the very near future (probably already one in development).

    But you're right, I know a fair few people who were considering a PS3 but wanted to wait until the format war was decided. So now they can get a combined console/Blu-Ray player without fear of the Blu-Ray films becoming obsolete in the immediate future. I know people seem to assume that "over the air" or even Solid State Memory will replace physical discs but I think that's still a good few years down the line.

  32. Nick Cassimatis
    Thumb Up

    HD-DVD's on the cheap?

    So now I should be able to get HD-DVD's for less than regular DVD's, see TONS of them in the used disc stores, wait for BR to come down in price to something reasonable (will it with no competition???), then get a BR player, get the High-Def stuff on it, and have the Toshiba for the regular DVD upscaling.

    Oh, and the BR drive will probably be in a PS3 - I can try to use the death of HD-DVD as an excuse to "need" the PS3 to my wife!

  33. Andy S

    @PS3 sale will climb

    "there is one more reason to buy PS3 and one less for the 360"

    Why? Considering that the hd-dvd drive was only an addon for movies, no games came on hd-dvd, hardly massive support. If the 360 did have a built in HD-DVD drive, and HD-DVD games released this probably woukld have dragged on until every player was dual format.

    Having seen inside one of these addon drives, it's only a pc drive with a usb interface soldered to it and some drivers on the console. It could take all of a few weeks to get a blu-ray version out if Microsoft want.

  34. Matt Owen

    I bought HD-DVD...

    ... I'm a proud.

    I own a 360 (and a Wii but that's by-the-by), so the cheapest way for me to easily enjoy HD films was by buying the 360 addon HD-DVD drive. I also bought about 5 HD-DVD films and sent off for my 5 free HD-DVDs from Toshiba.

    I don't see my self out of pocket, because I can always rip the HD-DVDs to my PC at the same resultion and audio bit rate, and watch them that way. I'll be buying blu-ray within the year so can focus on blu-ray discs, then. In the mean time, I'll be picking up the remaining HD-DVD films I want to see at rock bottom prices as vendor rush to clear stocks...

    Overall I'm happy the war is over. Now lets hope the BDA start releasing some decent classic films finally and not all the shite from the past two years like they've been doing.

    Although, I am worried that Star Trek and 2001 will now take forever to make it to blu-ray :(


  35. Adam

    Why so much passion?

    I've never quite understood why the HD-DVD/BluRay competition caused so much passion amongst what is admittedly a minority of people. I'm surprised there aren't any rants from HD-DVD fans, but I was expecting a lot of pro-BluRay gloats.

    Have people bought thousands of shares in these companies? Do they belong to a religious cult that worships blue-lasers but disagrees on whether Dolby TrueHD or DTS Master HD is the one true audio codec?

    I would say that this chapter of the fanboy culture is second only to those who sit on the internet arguing about which console will "lose", despite the fact that all three of the current gen consoles have sold millions of units each!

    Right, I've got an idea on how to enter the mindset of the fanboy. I drive a Vauxhall (a General Motors car), so now I'm going to seek out all the Ford owners I know and tell them that they bought the wrong car and that Ford is going to lose the car format war and General Motors will win and they are all stupid for buying Fords and they will cry but General Motors will laugh at them. HAHAHAHA

  36. David Austin


    Well, looks like Sony's Playstation III gambit paid off - Blu ray isn't ideal for games (Huge capacity, but poor loading times), but it did it's job - Blu-Ray won the day, and I think after Betamax we can let Sony have this one.

    Now, hopefully, this will give the games division momentum to pick up it's side of the business, which has suffered recently, partly due to the blu-ray push.

    P.S. Microsoft - do the right thing and make an Xbox 360Blu: Internal drive, Wireless built in, and, if you're feeling bold, fix the 25% failure rate.

    (Flame disclaimer: I own both 360 and PSIII, and love both for different reasons)

  37. Adrian Jackson
    Thumb Down

    How does this hurt Microsoft exactly?

    For the people going on about how this is a kick in the teeth for MS (or 'M$' as they so wittily put it, clearly not having read how exactly are Microsoft hurt by their competitor selling subsidised hardware which people may now buy with no intention of buying games software for it, instead stocking up on movies that don't bring the same return to Sony?

  38. Mark
    Gates Horns

    @David Austin

    PS3 Blu-ray loading times are just fine thanks.

    The problems with Microsoft being involved in the media format war, is their viral marketing droogs have littered forums with mistruths.

    Here is some facts.

    1. The 360's DVD drive is quoted by Microsoft as being 12x. However, here is the first catch. That is ONLY for single layer discs. with DVD9 dual layer, it's actually only 8x.

    2. The 360's DVD drive is CAV, which means the data transfer rate varies across the disc surface. Microsoft of course, quote the fastest, 8x (88.8mbps), on the inner of the disc. At the outer, it's closer to 4x. (44.4mbps)

    3. the 2x Blu-ray drive in the PS3 (used for both movies and PS3 games), use CLV, delivering constant data transfer rates across the entire 50GB of the disc. (72mbps)

    As you can see, the 360 is marginally faster for a very small part of the DVD disc. It can deliver about 1-2GB of data on a DVD faster than the PS3, however, the PS3 can deliver the full 50GB of data faster than 90% of the 360's DVD.

    In the real world applications, and certainly with the current multi-platform titles, there is little to choose between PS3 and 360 load times, unless of coarse you use the standard HDD in the PS3, in which case, unless the developers have royally screwed up, the PS3 will always have much shorter load times.

  39. Neil Jones
    Thumb Up

    Life in the Old Dog Yet

    This might be the end of the future of HD-DVD, but it's not over yet for the format. There's already several hundred (thousand?) titles available on HD-DVD which will no doubt now be destined for the bargain bins, so those who've already got HD-DVD hardware can laugh as they pay less than us Blu-ray owners.

    Plus, to recoup some of it's losses, I wouldn't be surprised to see Toshiba licensing HD-DVD technology on the cheap to manufacturers wanting to build dual-format machines to tempt HD-DVD owners who'll need to change camps in the future, but will still want to play their existing HD-DVD libraries. So if you did back the wrong horse, milk it while you can, if you'll forgive the mixed metaphor

  40. Tom Adair

    Cheap films ahoy

    Well, I'm glad Toshiba have at least ended the uncertainty over it, though I suppose there'll be some recriminations from Universal/Paramount over their forthcoming releases on HD DVD.

    Roll on the cheap films (not that I've spent more than about £10-11 a film so far anyway) on HD DVD as retailers try to clear their stock, I'll probably pick up a standalone player too, as insurance against my 360 HD DVD player going wrong at some point.

    Its only because of this format war that we're getting the current prices anyway, give it a few months, and new BluRay releases won't come down in price from their extortionate £20-25, not for ages at least.

    Oh, and FYI, I always intended to get a BluRay player of some description, didnt see BluRay losing, just HD DVD was a cheap option, with the 5 free films offer, not sure there's enough games exclusive to PS3 that I want to justify it though.

    Mark: even with the figures you quote of BluRay having a faster average transfer rate, its still got to shift more data compared to DVD, hence why a number of PS3 games offer/require installation of some content to the HDD.

  41. Richard Spooner

    Alli want... the original Star Wars films on BR. Then I really would make a mess of my underpants

  42. Tim
    Paris Hilton

    Re: Alli want...

    " the original Star Wars films on BR. Then I really would make a mess of my underpants"

    To risk another flame war... the "original" Star Wars films will of course never be on BR ;-)

    Lucas will eventually get round to do the next version of them though, but they'll be different again... with even more added CGI value!

    Though interesting to note that Lucas originally was reluctant to release on DVD at all because he was waiting for an HD format.

    Also of desire of course is LOTR. Problem is, will I have to buy new collectors boxed sets again! :-D

  43. Monkey


    ...for once I agree with you about the Star Wars films!

    LOTR BR will be soooo expensive (but pretty damned good). The original Alien box set when DVD first came out was £80 after all, and probably one of the best comparisons from the time.

  44. Cathal Gantly
    IT Angle

    Glad the war is over...

    Even though I've got neither high def. format media. Also, it's not even showing on my purchasing radar, as for maximum value I'd need a 1080p telly to go with the player... and that would be a PS3.

    Sony launched the PS2 with a DVD player capability and this gave consumers "another reason" to get the console. Back then, DVD was starting to gain momentum, and that gesture worked well for DVD and the PS2. So no surprise that Sony stuck a Blue-Ray drive in the PS3...

    And what is absoloutly unbelievable, is that Microsoft , first to market with the 360 over Sony, didn't learn from this and put an HD drive in. Or, learn how the XBox couldn't play DVD's out of the box either...

    I'm not overly concerned who's won the war, but I am glad it is over.

  45. ElFatbob

    Re:Consumer choice


    The PS3 may offer the solution you're looking for. There is supposed to be a dual freeview dongle type add on coming for the PS3 which will give it PVR capabilities.

    Change out the 40gb laptop drive for a 250gb model and you'll have yourself a single unit capable of:

    Playing blu rays (and capable of being updated with BR specification firmware updates)

    Online access

    Games console (obviously)

    dual Freeview PVR with a nice (and upgradable) capacity...


  46. Daniel B.


    Hm... I hope this means the PS3 will benefit from a sales surge.

    I know I do not have the dosh to buy a blu-ray player (going at $920 here in Mexico) but I might buy a PS3 sometime in the next 3 months ($600 and dropping).

    And I'm as sure as HELL not buying a 360. I'm glad M$ got hit by this... they stuck iHD on HD-DVD, so I'm pretty sure there was some hidden "Windows-only" tech in there, its too large an opportunity not to tie-in future users...

  47. Andy Bright


    It's a bloody optical disk and people are actually upset about it going away? Here's a heads up for you, both formats are complete shite.

    I have Blu-ray and I've watched HD-DVD. Not a fucking difference between the two. Both are severely limited in capacity and suffer from the whim of mastering, which means the quality varies depending on the competence of those creating the original copy.

    As for crying for Toshiba and hounding Sony? Are you fucking mad? They're both huge conglomerates from the same country, and the difference between them is one makes a few consoles.

    The only reason that people got caught up in hissy fits over a new generation of optical media having two formats is because they have movies on them.

    This was almost as sad and redundant as the anally retentive fights over whether +r/rw dvds are better than -r/rw dvds.

    Oh and who can forget the long hours campaigning on behalf of CD+R and CD-R, and who can forget how vital it was in the eventual overwhelming success of Video CD that one format came out on top...

    My god, I've even seen some moron writing about the "people's format". Fuck off, there is no "people's format", there's only fat fucking CEO's format. And while we're limiting ourselves to something as crappy as optical media to watch movies, who gives a fuck whether one or even both disappears.

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