Skip to content
Subscriber Only

DVD Format Wars: Toshiba Surrenders

Hobbled by the defection of Time Warner, the Japanese electronics maker abandons its HD-DVD technology, leaving the field open for Sony's Blu-ray
Toshiba spokesperson Lori Leland gives a demonstration of HD DVD web capability at the Toshiba booth at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 7, 2008.
Toshiba spokesperson Lori Leland gives a demonstration of HD DVD web capability at the Toshiba booth at the 2008 International Consumer Electronics Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center January 7, 2008. Ethan Miller/Getty Images

There was an air of inevitability about Toshiba's decision to bow out of the next-generation DVD format war. On Feb. 19 Chief Executive Officer Atsutoshi Nishida finally said what analysts and industry executives had been predicting for weeks: Toshiba will stop making video players, recorders, and high-tech parts in the HD DVD format that the company had spent years developing and in which it had invested sizable sums to bring to market.

Toshiba's planned exit in March formally ends the two-year standoff between the two competing, incompatible high-definition DVD formats (BusinessWeek.com, 12/6/07). Now Blu-ray disc, backed by a Sony-led (SNE) consortium, becomes the de facto standard for new DVDs featuring clearer pictures and more special functions than ordinary DVDs. "We felt that a quick decision was best," Nishida told a roomful of journalists and TV cameras at company headquarters.