The HD DVD Death Rattle

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As many news outlets are reporting, Toshiba is expected to announce the end of their HD DVD technology, essentially taking the company out of the next generation race for high definition movie technology. Toshiba will stop manufacturing HD DVD players and will cease printing HD DVD titles. As many are reporting, this could have a ripple effect in the computer and gaming market, including the loss of HD DVD burning technology for computers.

Despite HD DVD’s lower price points, Sony’s Blu Ray technology ultimately won the war with studios, and this trickles down to customers. Studios were attracted to Blu Ray’s  new laser technology, meaning that Blu Ray discs are protected from copying–for now. When customers don’t have many purchasing options in the HD DVD format, they will choose not to invest in HD DVD players or titles.

HD DVD players could be purchased for as low as $100 in some cases, or for $180 as an addition to an Xbox 360 console. Blu Ray, on the other hand, required an investment of $400 or more to purchase a Playstation 3 or standalone Blu Ray player.

Toshiba, which created DVD technology, was unable to get a foothold in the high definition movie market despite having several advantages over Sony’s Blu Ray. HD DVD’s were based on DVD technology and could be produced more cheaply than Blu Ray discs. HD DVD players were online-ready, and customers could use online features and instant online updates with their HD DVD players, whereas Sony has only just recently announced a move to make Blu Ray technology sync online. HD DVD’s have better menu technology, and the difference in picture and sound are negligible.

There is no word, yet, on why Toshiba’s partnership with Microsoft or it’s demanding presence in the movie market–with their ownership of DVD technology–couldn’t save their foothold in the market.

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